To most adults, there’s nothing cuter than the sound of a baby’s laughter. When an infant laughs, you can only feel joy and happiness at the sound as there’s something incredibly pure and innocent about a child’s laughter. As parents, you can only feel as though it was worth all the stress, every time you hear your infant laugh.
However, a recent study seems to prove that there’s a lot more to a babies laugh than we previously understood or could decipher from. The study, which was led by Disa Sauter, a psychologist and associate professor at the University of Amsterdam found a surprising connection between a human infants laugh and that of a chimpanzee’s (or our closest evolutionary cousin).
During the study, Sauter used video clips of 44 infants doing things that would cause them to laugh or sound excitable and played them to 102 listeners who had been selected from the psychology faculty. In the test, she would ask the listeners whether or not they could determine whether the babies were laughing on the exhale or on the inhale.
The reason for this was because she had already understood that as adults (or younger children), the majority of people tend to laugh on the exhale and she wanted to know if there was a difference in babies and what that meant regarding our developmental process as infants growing up and learning how to communicate or act based on those around us i.e. vocal control.
However, her results were more interesting than even she had expected, as she managed to successfully draw a connection between how a baby laughs and how a chimpanzee laughs which is on both the exhale and inhale! This is exciting because it has helped scientists get that much closer to understanding speech impediments that may develop in older children because now they can compare a healthy child’s developmental stage and one affected by a speech impediment to try and determine whereupon the developmental timeline the issue may occur first.