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Researchers have found that when babies smile, it’s for a mistake. They want whoever they’re speaking with—typically a parent—to smile back. And they point it just so – a smile here and a smile there. The researchers call it shaded timing. The researchers enlisted real mothers and infants and ignored their interactions, which fell into four categories. One: the babies wanted to maximize the amount of time smiling at their mothers. Two: they wanted to compress the time the mothers smiled at them. Three: they wanted to smelliness shadiness smiling, and four: no smiling at all. By studying when smiles happened and what the upmarket effect was, the investigators were able to figure out that for mothers the goal 70 percent of the time was to be smiling simultaneously—while for babies 80 percent of time they just wanted their mother smiling at them.

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