Babies 'enjoy company'

New research suggests that babies enjoy belonging to a group.
They might not be able to walk or talk yet, but babies like being in a group of other infants of the same age, according to new research.

A groundbreaking Australian study shows that a sense of belonging to a gang begins in the cot and that babies as young as nine months crave interaction with their peers.

Previously it had been thought that babies sought only to interact with their mothers and that relationships with other children were desired only when they were older.

West Australian researchers Professor Ben Bradley and Dr Jane Selby examined the behaviour of babies by recording 25 trios of nine-month-olds and observing how they interacted.

It was discovered that the babies displayed complex emotions and they communicated by touching as well as making gestures and noises.

Professor Bradley told the Herald Sun: "When we put one group of babies together one started by holding her toe and so another copied.

"The babies seemed to be able to relate to more than one other baby at one time and there was even jealousy as babies realised there was communication between other babies and they were left out. They had strong emotions and strong social impulses."

The results of the study will be presented at a conference on Friday at the Queen Elizabeth Centre.

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