facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Babies develop a social skill by 5 months

Jan. 28, 2010 at 1:30 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- British researchers say babies develop an important social skill -- gazing -- as early as the fifth month of life.

Dr. Tobias Grossmann and Professor Mark Johnson of Birkbeck, University of London, used a technique known as near infrared spectroscopy to examine which areas of an infant's brain are activated when paying joint attention to an object.

The researchers found that when the babies engaged in joint attention with the adult they used a specific region of their brain known as the left prefrontal cortex -- an area to the front of the brain involved in complex cognitive and social behaviours.

Two people sharing attention to the same object is known as joint attention and is a vital human social skill necessary for teaching, collaboration and language learning, Grossmann and Johnson say. Impairments in this skill are one of the earliest signs of autism.

The study, published in Biology Letters, said babies were shown computer-animated images of the face of an adult that would make eye contact with the baby and engage in joint attention. In the control conditions, the adult would not make eye contact with the baby.

A non-invasive technique known as near infrared spectroscopy was used to examine the areas being activated in the infant's brain.

Topics: Mark Johnson
© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
New research explains insomnia prevalence among elderly
2
Yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies at 95
3
New research details rare cancer that killed Bob Marley
4
New data shows Melbourne is most well-rested city in the world
5
Daughters more likely than sons to care for elder parents
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback