Do you ever wonder whether your baby remembers the fun you’re having playing a game? A study has revealed that they do, when it is accompanied by positive emotions, such as happy voices and laughter
According to the study, published in Infant Behavior and Development, positive emotions do influence memory.
Researchers analysed the reactions of five-month-olds when looking at different shapes.
The babies were set in front of a flat-panelled monitor in a closed off partition and then exposed to a person on screen speaking to them with either a happy, neutral or angry voice. Immediately following the emotional exposure, they were shown a geometric shape.
To test their memory, the researchers did follow-up tests five minutes later and again one day later.
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In the follow-up test, babies were shown two side-by-side geometric shapes: a brand new one, and the original one from the study.
The researchers then were able to record how many times the baby looked from one image to the next and how long they spent looking at each image.
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Babies' memories didn't improve if the shape had been paired with a negative voice, but they performed significantly better at remembering shapes attached to positive voices.
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‘People study memory in infants, they study discrimination in emotional affect, but we are the first ones to study how these emotions influence memory,’ said Brigham Young University psychology professor Ross Flom, lead author of the study.
‘We think what happens is that the positive affect heightens the babies' attentional system and arousal,’ Flom said. ‘By heightening those systems, we heighten their ability to process and perhaps remember this geometric pattern.’