Infant Tears

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While the cry of an infant is enough to make caretakers immediately secure the resources needed by babies, the baby’s power could also backfire. Experts pointed out that the cry of a baby could pierce through darkness and distance.

Randolph Cornelius, a psychology professor at Vassar College, noted that the sound of a baby crying loudly for 15 minutes is enough to impair the hearing of people near the infant who are highly motivated to alleviate the baby’s distress.

Along with the cry, the tears – made up of salt, proteins, hormones, and water – also send signals of distress to caretakers. The tears and the cry have been compared by Cornelius to an acoustic umbilical cord that prompts mothers, fathers, and other caretakers to jump into action
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He or she will have the ability to produce tears, which is a quieter and calmer signal of distress until it develops later when the infant’s nervous system matures a few months after birth. Infant tears, in fact, elicited a stronger response than adult tears, researchers recently discovered in a new study published in Social Neuroscience.

Infant tears vs. adult tears

The report said that the sight of infant tears activates brain regions related to visual processing and pain perception. It would enable a caregiver to understand the child’s distress and try to relieve it, Ad Vingershoets, a leading researcher on tears and a professor of clinical psychology at Tilburg University in The Netherlands, said.

To test their theory, the scientists had images of adults and infants, with and without tears, which appeared either as moving away or toward the participants. They observed that the participants responded faster to an adult teary face if the picture was approaching instead of receding, but there was no difference in swiftness to response for infant
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The photos had the caption: “How I currently feel about these mini Satans.”

There was also a short video that showed a nurse positioning a baby to make it appear the infant was dancing to a song. The hospital, in a Facebook post, condemned the action of the nurse as outrageous, unacceptable, and incredibly unprofessional.

The nurses’ reaction may be what Cornelius said about infant cry triggering abusive behavior of caretakers toward infants. But for many people, the reaction toward an infant cry is the opposite, according to a 2013 study. The researchers used brain scans to monitor the activity in response to the sounds of a baby crying and discovered that it initiated an intense and immediate panic response in the middle temporal gyrus. It is an area of the brain linked with emotional processing.

Newsweek noted that the reaction occurred before the brain had a chance to understand what the sound was. None of the study volunteers were parents which suggested that none of them had firsthand experience with the sound which is an indicator that human reaction to an infant cry is primal, instinctual, and quite
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