Fake It ‘Til You Make It? Study Shows Even Fake Cries Build Bonds

My name is Grayson, the most dramatic 15-month-old you’ll ever meet. I have a mean fake cry with a turnaround to laugh in just .3 seconds. Yep, Mom says I’m going to win an Oscar someday.

Clearly my name isn’t Grayson and I’m a little bit older than 15 months. But, the other day I spoke for him when I Instagrammed this photo.



This face says it all. 

Grayson is a one man baby show around here. He is quite the charmer and knows how to wrap you around his finger in just a few seconds with his big baby blues. But what really makes you jump is his fake choke at dinner. That seriously still gets me. Grayson will literally fake that he’s choking to get our attention and then, wait for it, laughs. It’s like the little boy who cried wolf at least a few times a week. And then pretending to cry and throw himself on the ground? Oh, well that is just a classic “Mom, are you paying attention to me yet?” move.

So charming, isn’t he? He has some serious tricks. But, I guess as the littlest one of five, he has to keep up with his older sisters.  I couldn’t help but think that this kid needs to go to acting school, like, yesterday. But then, I read this article. Babies fake crying to build relationship with mom? I’ve got living proof of this study and he is right here next to me. Parents who think their babies cry just to get their attention, well, now a study from Japan has your back.

Researchers in the small study analyzed the cries of two babies over a six-month period and, in one instance, an 11-month-old actually showed positive emotions prior to the last seconds before crying. This happened when the mother moved away from the baby during playtime. Then the baby stopped, smiling again soon after the mother returned.

The infant “appeared to cry deliberately to get her mothers attention and convey to her [mother] that she wanted her to come closer and play with her again,” study researcher Hiroko Nakayama, of the University of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo, wrote in the December issue of the journal Infant Behavior and Development. “This appeared to be an instance of fake crying,” Nakayama said. The term “fake” should not be taken as a negative in this context, Nakayama said. The interaction that occurs when a mother responds to her baby’s cries, even fake cries, “contributes greatly not only to an infant’s social development but also to their emotional development,” Nakayama said. “Infants who are capable of fake crying might communicate successfully with their caregivers in this way on a daily basis. Fake crying could add much to their relationships,” Nakayama said.

Here comes the interesting part.  The fake crying baby, called infant R, competed with two other siblings for her mother’s attention resulting in more episodes of real crying while the other infant, called infant M, was an old child.  

Regardless, I still always get suckered in and as my husband says that Grayson is a serious mommas boy. But I’m fine with that — fake cry or not.

What your thoughts? How many of you have some serious Hollywood stars out there with the “fake” crying?

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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