Fun News- Manipulative babies will fake cry to get what they want

I kind of knew this already from working with my pediatric patients, but thought it would be fun to share a study that actually looked into real and fake crying.  And now I have some evidence to show my parents if I can’t convince them to hold out a little longer before picking up their little ones when they see them slightly upset when doing “non-preferred activities.”  🙂

Highlights from the article:

…But let’s face it: Babies are manipulative, too. And a new study by psychologist Hiroko Nakayama in Japan seems to reaffirm what many perpetually sleep-deprived moms and dads have long suspected: Babies will fake cry to get what they want.

Researchers carefully analyzed two infants — Baby R and Baby M — through dozens of tearful episodes, and sought to pin down two specific states before and after crying spurts: Positive emotions (smiling/laughing) and negative emotions (frowning or appearing genuinely upset about something). Here’s what they found:

Most of the time the crying really was because Baby R and Baby M were unhappy: 98 percent of Baby R’s crying bouts came after something negative. But one day, at around the 11-month mark, a tearful episode was preceded and followed by laughs and smiles. “Infant R appeared to cry deliberately to get her mother’s attention,” said Nakayama, “[then] she showed [a] smile immediately after her mother came closer.”

People might have a negative impression of “fake crying” said Nakayama, but they shouldn’t do. It attracts the attention of the care-giver, and “such individual interaction contributes greatly not only to an infant’s social development but also to their emotional development. Infants who are capable of fake crying might communicate successfully with their caregivers in this way on a daily basis. Fake crying could add much to their relationships.”

Though the article only looked at 2 subjects, it’s nice to have a little bit of evidence to help teach parents that they maybe are being manipulated at times and that: A: their child is fake crying and they will be ok, and B: it is a good thing that their kiddo knows how to fake cry and how to use it, and shows that they are growing socially and emotionally 🙂

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