This is a video from a recent study published in Cognitive Development. Researchers from the Institute of Learning & Brain Sciences were looking into how infants integrated emotional and visual-perceptual cues in order to regulate their behavior… A question I dare to say all parents would like to hear the answer to.
The study investigated a 15-month-old infant’s ability to self-regulate based on observing a social interaction between two adults. Infants were bystanders to a social exchange in which one adult (the “experimenter”) performed actions on objects, and another adult (the “emoter”) expressed anger, as if they were forbidden acts.
In the video, we can see the experimenter play with a toddler toy, and then offer the toy to the infant to play with. The infant of course goes ahead and happily plays with it. Then as the experimenter demonstrates a new toy, the emoter arrives, sits down, and says out loud:
“That’s aggravating—that’s so annoying!”
Can you guess what the toddler does once the second toy is offered to him?