Pucker up, Baby! Lips Take Center Stage in Infants’ Brains
[Source: Science Daily]
A typically developing 2-month-old baby can make cooing sounds, suck on her hand to calm down, and smile at people.
At that age, the mouth is the primary focus: Such young infants aren’t yet reaching for objects with their hands or using their feet to get around, so the lips — for eating, pacifying and communicating — multitask.
And at the same time, new research reveals a special neural signature associated with touching the baby’s lips, an indicator of how soon infants’ brains begin to make sense of their own bodies and a first step toward other developmental milestones.
A study led by the University of Washington Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) uses infant brain imaging to gauge how the hand, foot, and lips are represented in the brains of 2-month-olds — a much younger age than has been studied previously. It is believed to be the first to reveal the greater neurological activity associated with the lips than with other body parts.
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