When the adult looked at the baby – either straight on or with the head slightly turned, the baby’s brain activity responded with activity patterns that resembled those of the adult. How amazing is that!
What is interesting is that both adult and baby’s brain activity seemed to “meet in the middle”, meaning the baby’s brain activity became more like the adult’s, but at the same time the adult’s became more like the baby’s. That finding is “giving new insights into infants’ amazing abilities to connect to, and tune in with, their adult caregivers,” Leong says.
“These findings hint that such synchronization lets signals flow easily between two brains, though Leong says that much more research needs to be done before scientists understand synchronization’s relevance to babies’ communication and learning.” [source]
They also noted that when eye-gazing was happening, the babies made more vocalisations, which may be part of what causes the adult’s brain waves to sync more with the baby’s.
So – sit down with your baby, stare into their eyes and talk with them. Perhaps you are helping to teach them essential communication skills, or maybe they are teaching you.
Hannah Schenker is a freelance writer, editor and regular contributor to The Natural Parent Magazine. She lives with a touch of magic in Golden Bay, New Zealand.