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I was on the plane the other day from Hongkong back to Shanghai.

Two seats away sitting a young mother with her months old baby boy.

Not long after taken off, he started crying, not very bad but his mom was a bit nervous for may be she did not want to disturb other passengers.

I turned to look at the baby boy with a gentle smile. He noticed me and stared at me. He is cute. I blinked my eye to tease him. And then he gave me a lovely smile back in return. So I made face to him and he started giggling...


After that during the trip whenever I heard the baby boy started making uneasy noise, I turned to him and doing the same thing. it worked magically.

The young mother was very glad that I could offer this unexpected help.


The reason I point this out is not saying I own special mind power. Instead I have a question. Before learning language and speaking, does baby have communication power? I guess they do. Just like other intelligent animal such as dophins and dogs. Is it a kind of sixth sense? Or just simply body language?

Am I right?


The above mentioned story is not a single experience. I have come accross several similar cases. When I play with some babies, they seems to know what I think and response to me.

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Babies crave input! And visual input is most easily accessible to them.


They get bored with mom after a while, and strangers are a shock to their input stream, so they really respond.


Eye contact is the essential element, because they are aware of self, and crave attention.


They also respond in kind: smile and they'll smile back!


I've spent a *lot* of time on airplanes, and I do what you describe all the time, and it does indeed work!


Babies also have really sensitive ears, so between the noise and the air pressure drop, crying on the airplane is inevitable. I only took a few trips with mine when she was small, mainly because I didn't want to put *her* through it (with all the jerks I meet on planes, I didn't really care much how *they* would react!). And the one long trip we took, I made sure to get first class seats so she had a whole row to crawl around in.


That’s the miracle of babies, their ability to lay bare the tender, beating hearts of raging a**h***s, B)


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Babies crave input! And visual input is most easily accessible to them.

I agree with Buffy 100%' date=' and this will work on almost kids.



For a mother is the only person on earth

Who can divide her love among ten children

And each child still have all her love.



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Babies are sort of like animals in the sense they respond to feelings in the voice instead of words. A good experiment with an animal is saying something nasty but with kindness or enthusiasm in the voice. They hear "blah, blah", but will feel the positive emotional valence and respond to that. Then do the opposite and give them a kind complement, but with anger or contempt. They also hear "blah blah, and will respond to the feelings.


Body language and babies works the same way. Typically, there is an exact association between a smile and a nice feeling. But sometimes babies will see the smile but respond with crying if the feelings are not genuine. Often females are more genuine with their feelings of cuteness such that females are more likely to get the proper reaction. Some males are more awkward around babies. They may smile but the baby feels their strain.

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Babies do communicate, but do it using natural instincts, which are common to almost all babies. If the baby is hungry it may start to cry. This pushes the mother's button for the proper food adding response. Sometimes babies will smile at you first, trying to instinctively coax positive feedback. The baby may want to be held since it instinctively needs sensory stimulation. So it cries until the mother learns the cause and affect of its language. The mother learns, if I walk and hold the baby while tapping its back he stops crying. The baby may be thinking, thats want I said, what took you so long to figure it out. One of the fun interactions is a baby's laugh. It sort of comes in spurts. The spurt affects the audience. The audience reacts with a smile and is then coaxed into some baby talk or funny face, to trigger another spurt, etc.. The baby needs the data and offers a food pellet to get the needed input data.

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When I play with some babies, they seems to know what I think and response to me.
It’s important, I think, to comprehend how profoundly different infants think and perceive than slightly older children and adults, to avoid falling into a common variety of the anthropomorphic fallacy. Even though they are human, and in short time develop adult human thinking and perception, in their first months of life, as best the somewhat iffy science of early child development can tell us, babies are some bizarrely weird sensing and thinking machines!


Infants can perceive objects effectively at birth. Weirdly, their two eyes don’t truly move together to give proper stereoscopic vision, and their focus isn’t under voluntary control, causing their visual world to swim in and out of focus at roughly arm’s length distance, but with the proper set-up, they can track large, bright objects. It’s possible to detect, in a repeatable, systematic way, when an infant is startled by the sudden, unexpected appearance of an object in their vision. This gives us what we need to conduct this famous experiment, which resembles a very simplified stage magic show:


Set up a barrier, behind which an assortment of objects are concealed.

With an infant watching, pass an object behind the barrier, revealing them again as they emerge from the other side. After a few repetitions, switch objects behind the barrier to a different one emerges on the other side. Measure infant’s reaction.


Infant won’t show a surprise reaction. We can conclude that he/she doesn’t find object changing size, shape, and color anything out of the ordinary


Repeat the experiment at a later date, however, and Infant will show surprise, or even alarm. Sometime between the two experiments, he/she has “acquired a conservation perceptual schema”, and now expects objects to retain their characteristics when momentarily out-of-sight.


Variation of this experiment use images of peoples faces (babies are born with surprisingly sophisticated face-recognizing abilities), with similar results. Up to a certain age, multiple images of the same person doesn’t surprise Infant, then, fairly suddenly, when he/she has started to acquire the “there’s only one of each person” schema, sights contradicting this rule are surprising, even frighteningly so.


A person who has no expectation that a simple object will retain its characteristics pretty clearly isn’t cognitively capable of “thinking” about simple objects in a way much like an adult does, and is even less able to think about complicated objects like people, or guess at what people are thinking.


There’s pretty good evidence that even after a child has mastered the perceptual schema needed to understand the physical world well enough to search for specific hidden objects, play ball, and other sophisticated tasks, and understand and express themselves with language, they have limited ability to model the thoughts of others enough to even handle simple other-modeling tasks such as the very important, practical “If I do this, what will he do” prediction.


With the exception of children with neuropsychological disorders, such as some of those in the autistic spectrum, the perceptual and cognitive skills necessary to “know what others are thinking” (or, more corretly, make good guesses about it based on current and remembered sensory data) are pretty well developed within a few years of life.


The mental universe of a young infant, however, appears to be very alien to those you and I experience. Though it’s harmless, and extremely common, for adults to not understand this, it’s important that students of neurology and psychology learn that the commonplace assumption that babies “think” much like we do, and are limited only in their ability to express their thoughts, by best scientific theory and evidence, appears very incorrect.

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  • 1 year later...

If you want to get waaaaaay down into how babies communicate (which appears to be driven by their need to survive), dig into Margaret Mahler (from the '50s I think) to get grounded, then look at Daniel Stern and Alan Schore, two millennial-era researchers who have really drilled down into this topic.


One of the things one has to keep in mind is that human infants are born with incomplete brains, compared to those of adults. They cannot process with symbolic language (yet), but, boy does their need to get fed, held, burped, and changed motivate them to figure out to communicate in a hurry. Their neuronal stacks actually grow in response to successful "communications" with their caregivers.


Unfortunately, however, their neuronal stacks can also grow "oddly" if their caregivers confuse them with inappropriate, negative or inconsistent responses. See Bruce Perry on "Romanian babies" and all the rest of the wretched stuff that can happen when the feedback loop between Ma and Junior is poorly established. Ta.

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Instead I have a question. Before learning language and speaking, does baby have communication power? I guess they do. Just like other intelligent animal such as dophins and dogs. Is it a kind of sixth sense? Or just simply body language?

Am I right? ...


No discussion of baby language is complete without mentioning the work of Noam Chomsky. Here's a summary, and of course Google is your friend. :friday: :shrug:


Psychology History


Chomsky's research and influence on linguistics changed and modernized the discipline. For many years there has been a battle between linguistics as to whether language acquisition is innate or learned. Chomsky argues that language acquisition is an innate structure, or function, of the human brain.

Although known that there are structures of the brain that control the interpretation and production of speech, it was not clear as to how humans acquired language ability, both in its interpretive sense and its production. This is where Noam Chomsky made his contribution.


Another fact is that children go through stages of language acquisition in which they learn certain parts of the language. They all go through these stages at the same time, around the same age. A child in China, will follow the same linguistic patterns of language acquisition as a child in the United States. It is with these observations, along with knowledge about neurological structures that control linguistic communication and interpretation, that Chomsky argues that language is innately organized.

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I ran into this one a couple of years ago. Seigel, Daniel: Toward an interpersonal neurobiology of the developing mind: Attachment relationships, “mindsight,” and neural integration, in Infant Mental Health Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1 & 2, 2001.


"The mind develops at the interface between human relationships and the unfolding structure and function of the brain. Recent discoveries... [show] how the brain gives rise to mental processes and is directly shaped [physiologically] by interpersonal experiences."


I think you can get it as a free .pdf online. 24 pages long on the copy I have. Worth the effort if you're really into this.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 months later...

A psychology professor once told the class that body language is 70% of communication. Babies respond to attention; notice how they watch you constantly until you make eye contact. They just reflect life because their minds haven't taken over yet. All we can do is reflect the love right back, because words are just sound waves to babies.

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