Tickling babies toes for science..

I’ve just started a new job in the Infant Lab at Goldsmiths, University of London. I am happy to report that my new boss tickles babies too. For science!  Prof. Andy Bremner is interested in how babies learn about their bodies and their world.  His most recent study with PhD student Jannath Begum Ali tickled babies to find out:

For a newborn baby emerging from the cosy womb, the outside world is much bigger, much colder and quite a different kind of place. At birth, the way newborn babies sense their environment changes dramatically. How do they make sense of all the new sounds, sights, smells and sensations?

Our new research has focused on the way babies experience touch, such as tickling. We’ve found that young infants of four months old, unlike older infants, are pretty accurate at locating where they’ve been tickled, even with their limbs crossed.

Source: Do babies feel tickles in a different way to adults? (The Conversation)

As a laughter researcher I am interested in tickling babies to learn more about laughter.  For example, we want to run a study looking at how tickling and laughter changes babies heart rate, their hormone levels or their alertness. But it is nice to find my new colleagues are world experts on tickling babies.  It seems like I’ve come to the right place.

This has also been covered in the New Scientist and the New York  Times and elsewhere.

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Current Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.08.055

 

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