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Newborn babies 'keen to communicate'

Babies that are just a few hours old long to communicate, according to a study.
A new study has shown that babies are born with a strong desire to communicate with people around them and are receptive to the emotions of others.

Dr Emese Nagy, from Dundee University, conducted a study on 90 newborn babies aged between just three hours and 96 hours.

Psychologists at the University spent three minutes communicating with each baby by smiling and gently talking to the infants, before completely freezing their faces and ceasing to respond.

The researchers noted that the babies engaged when communication was ongoing, but became visibly distressed when it ceased, turning away and even crying.

When the researchers restarted communication the babies were found to take some time to rebuild their trust before eventually engaging once again.

Dr Nagy believed that the study, published in Developmental Psychology, the journal of the American Psychological Association, could have important implications for infant mental health by proving that, from the very first hours of their life, newborns are sensitive to communication.

"This study showed that even newborn infants come to this world with a powerful sensitivity to the other person," she said.

"They show eager readiness to relate, they have the skills to relate and they protest when the other is there, but not responding to them."

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