Happy Easter, Help us with our research by finding laughing babies on YouTube. We love to see some examples of the following behaviours:
1. Shock turning to delight
2. A baby deliberately making an adult laugh
3. A baby laughing in anticipation of something (being tickled, etc.)
* Bonus – A baby dressed as a rabbit
Send links in the comments below or tweet your finds with the hashtag #laughingbaby
Have a Happy Chocolate Eggsmas,
Baby Frederick from Warsaw, Poland has previously appeared on the site laughing at himself in the mirror. This was featured in the recent Daily Mail coverage of our project and we sent Frederick and his family a copy of the paper. His father, Maciej, just sent me this lovely photo of Frederick reading all about himself. He seems quite pleased.
Thanks once again to Frederick and family
Today is International Happiness Day. As our small contribution we thought we’d share some wisdom from the happiest people on the planet, laughing babies.
1. People make us happy
Laughter and happiness are best when shared. We laugh with our friends. The bond between baby and parent is the best friendship there is and that’s why babies and parents laugh more than the rest of us. But everyone can improve their happiness by improving their relationships.
2. Challenge yourself every day
If you are a baby, every new day brings a new challenge . And each success brings great happiness. If you are not a baby, finding new challenges can be more… challenging. But it will be worth it. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studied remarkably happy people from all walks of life and discovered that this was their secret.
3. Be present
Babies laugh more than us because they are constantly stopping to look around. They are never in a such a rush to get somewhere else that they miss the magic of right now.
As it happens, all three of these make it into Action for Happiness’s 10 keys to happier living. They also have a special site set up just for today. There’s lots going on all over the world. Share your stories on twitter with the hashtag #happinessday.
Finally, I am happy to say, I’m not the only person at Birkbeck studying happiness. David Tross is an associate lecturer in public policy and is studying for a PhD in Community and Happiness studies. Over on the Birkbeck research blog he asks ‘Could greater happiness be a permanent reality?’
Share and Enjoy!
The baby laughter project was featured in the Daily Mail today. So if you saw us there, thank you for visiting our site. We hope you like our laughing babies and all the hard work they are doing for science.
There are three ways you can help our research:
- Share your own stories of what makes your babies laugh the most.
- Send us your laughing baby videos.
- Tell your friends. More babies = more data = better science = more laughter. Click the share buttons at the end of this article
In the meantime, we thought you might like to see some of the highlights from our project
Cosmo laughing at just 3 weeks old
Click for bigger
Frederick laughing at his own reflection
Read our explanation of why Frederick finds this funny.
Dominic – a world record holder
At just three months Dominic is the youngest ever baby fan of ripping paper. He is less than half the age of famous internet star Baby Micah. The fact that a baby as young as Dominic finds this funny is a real challenge to our understanding of their knowledge of the world. Read more here.
Caspar on the BBC News
Click on the image to watch the video.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. To keep up to date follow us on twitter or subscribe to our Baby laughter blog RSS feed.
Thank you for visiting and thank you to all the parents and babies who have taken part so far,
Dr. Caspar Addyman
The baby laughter project appears to have an evil twin. This photoblog documents the many ‘reasons’ why toddlers cry.
“I wouldn’t let him eat his yogurt with a pizza cutter.”
Submitted By: Nick L.
Location: California, United States
“She can’t fit into Dora’s minivan.”
Submitted By: Natalie H.
Location: Alabama, United States
“One of our cats was in the kitchen, and she wanted him to be in the dining room.”
Submitted By: Aaron M.
Location: California, United States
Loads more here : Reasons My Son Is Crying.
The surprisingly serious science of laughing babies
Dr. Caspar Addyman, Birkbeck Babylab
The laughter of little babies is infectious, enchanting and may play an important role in their early development. Dr. Caspar Addyman is a psychologist who studies what it is like to be a baby. After testing hundreds of babies in his experiments he was able to conclude that it is clearly great fun being a baby. But this is something that science largely overlooks. Therefore, he launched the Baby Laughter Project to investigate the role of laughter in early life. Over a 1000 parents from more than 25 countries have completed a detailed online survey and many have sent us stories or videos of things that make their babies laugh.
In this talk Dr Addyman will present the results of his research and describe how it answers questions about of the purpose of laughter. How does laughter track mental development? Is there an evolutionary explanation for why we laugh? Is infant laughter a form of communication? What are the best ways to make a baby laugh? Was tickling babies the first ever form of comedy?
Dr. Caspar Addyman works at the Babylab at Birkbeck, University of London. He specialises in the study of learning in the first few years of life and has researched such topics as how we learn our first words and how our sense of time develops. Caspar has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology from Birkbeck. Before moving into academia he spent 8 years working on financial trading floors, first as a trader and later as a software developer. He has a written a novel about a retired psychologist & a failed comedian. He has turquoise hair and lots of tattoos, many of which were stimuli in his experiments. He lives in Brixton and doesn’t do as much tai chi as he should. Further details on Dr Addyman’s research areas athttp://www.cbcd.bbk.ac.uk/people/scientificstaff/caspar
The talk will be in the basement of the Star of Kings.
There is a suggested donation of £10 on the day.
Concessions £ 8
Donations will go to the following charities
Kids Company http://www.kidsco.org.uk/
We provide practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children. We provide a safe, caring, family environment where support is tailored to the needs of each individual. Our services and support empower children who have experienced enormous challenges to lead positive and fulfilling lives.
Kidscape is committed to keeping children safe from abuse. Kidscape is the first charity in the UK established specifically to prevent bullying and child sexual abuse. Kidscape believes that protecting children from harm is key.
The Star of Kings
126 York Way
Kings Cross, N1 0AX
Oli Scarff came to Birkbeck Babylab earlier this week to take a few photos for CBS News. Here are a few:
These last two are from my latest time perception experiment:
You can see the rest at CBS Online
All images (c) Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Mind you, not everyone likes the idea of peering into babies brains: Touchez pas a mes pensées (in french)
I’ve just finished reading John Kabat-Zinn‘s book Wherever You Go, There You Are – Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. It contains a lovely passage about meditating with your baby.
When we had babies in the house, even the morning time was up for grabs. You couldn’t be too attached to anything because everything you set out to do, even if you arranged it very carefully, was always getting interrupted or completely thwarted. Our babies slept very little. They always seemed to be up late and to wake up early, especially if I was meditating. They seemed to sense when I was up and would wake up too. Some days I would have to push my time for myself back to 4:00am to get any sitting or yoga in. At other times I was just too exhausted to care, and figured the sleep was more important anyway. And sometime I would just sit with the baby on my lap, and let him or her decide how long it would last. They loved being wrapped up in the meditation blanket, with only their heads sticking out, and frequently would stay still for extended periods, while I followed not my breathing but our breathing.
I felt strong in those days, and still do, that an awareness of my body and my breath and of our close contact as I held them while we sat help my babies to sense calmness and explore stillness and feelings of acceptance. And their inner relaxation, which was much greater and purer than mine because their minds were not filled with adult thoughts and worries, helped me to be more calm and relaxed and present.
It is a lovely book that demystifies meditation. He takes a simple grounded approach that reclaims mindfulness from the airy realm of ‘spirituality’ and brings it back into the concrete here and now. He makes the case that meditation isn’t an escape from everyday reality but a way to embrace and accept it.
And there’s perhaps no greater need for that than when maelstrom of a little baby arrives in your life. But as John experienced it, babies can be little Zen masters. They will come into your life and turn it upside down. They will be relentless, demanding and surprising but will reward you by keeping you completely in the present.
Buddha Baby by Zen Brush on Etsy
Want to give your baby a head start then be sure to spend lots of time talking to him or her. I was once asked What are the most high-leverage activities I can do with my 1-2 year old to promote his mental and cognitive development?
It’s a crass way to ask a question that all parents want to know the answer to. As I said to that parent. “The secrets of healthy development aren’t secrets. Most important are a good diet, a rich and varied environment and LOTS of human interaction. Play games with him. Send him to nursery. Laugh and have fun.”
I should also have said “Talk to your baby”. An ever growing body of research is showing that the more words a baby hears the better it does in later years. Watching TV or eavesdropping on adults talking amongst themselves doesn’t have the same effect. As this short film from the Economist explains:
Smart talk: Early language and the brain (economist.com)
Update: Sorry for the autoplaying video. Blame the Economist.