If you have spent time reading books with infants, you might have noticed their fascination with faces. Infants will spend long periods of time looking at themselves in the mirror, staring at the faces of other babies, and even gazing at pictures of faces in books. In fact, Research from the Stanford Vision and NeuroDevelopment Lab found that by the time infants are four months old, they already process faces at nearly adult levels.
Why do Babies Love Babies?
Many parents, educators, and caregivers will notice infants’ specific fascination with the faces of other babies. While we do not know exactly why infants are so especially interested in the faces of other infants, as we can’t tell what they are thinking, there are a few theories. Dr. Gary Levy, research professor in family and consumer studies, notes that it could have something to do with the simple familiarity of infant faces, as summarized in this Parenting article. Most infant faces have average, similar looking features, while adults have more facial variety, sometimes with extremes that can feel less familiar.
Another theory is that from the moment we are born, our brains are programmed to be drawn to babies. We are drawn to the look of babies, such as the round eyes and chubby cheeks. Perhaps, infants are simply responding to our biological predisposition to feel protective and engaged when we see the sweet faces of babies.
Books with (and for) Babies
A recent article from The New York Times shared a list of books that infants will love, as they feature a variety of illustrations and drawings of other babies! Sharing books with infants on the topic they find most interesting is a great way to engage their young minds in story time. Click here for the full NY Times article, or find the list of books below: