When you’re busting some moves around the kitchen with your little one, you’re doing more than make them giggle – you’re making them more helpful children, according to new research.
A survey carried out by McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, revealed that movement is a fundamental part of music that affects social behaviour from a very young age.
Laura Cirelli, lead author of the new paper – due to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Developmental Science – and fellow doctoral student Kate Einarson analysed the behaviour of 68 babies, many of whom could not yet walk, to see if bouncing in-time to music with another person made them more likely to assist that person.
The study found that 14-month-old babies were much more likely to be helpful and have a stronger bond with an adult after the experience of bouncing up and down in time to music with them.
During the study, some babies were bounced in sync with a researcher standing opposite them while others were bounced at a different tempo. When the song was over, the researcher performed several simple tasks, including drawing a picture with a marker.
While drawing she would pretend to drop the marker to see whether the infant would pick it up and hand it back to her – a test of altruism in babies.
The babies who bounced in time to the music with the researcher were much more likely to pick up the object and pass it back, compared to infants who had been bounced at a different tempo to the researcher.
So next time Pharell Williams’s Happy comes on, pick up your little one and have a dance to the music – the bond between you will be stronger for it.
Does your little one love a dance? Comment below!