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Andrew Meltzoff and I-LABS study cited in two articles: KNKX and UW Daily.

Excerpted from UW Daily

Seeing through a baby’s eyes

By Paige Bartlett 

Updated 

Babies’ sense of touch first emerges as early as in the womb and develops rapidly after they’re born. It’s a vital part of how they learn and explore the world around them, but until recently, we knew very little about how babies feel. New UW research is shedding light on what this sensory development looks like in the brain.

recent study from the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) investigated the brain activity of 7-month-old babies in response to felt and observed touch. For felt touch, they tapped the baby on the hand or foot, and for observed touch, the babies watched a video of an adult being tapped on the hand or foot. 

The study is an important step in learning both how we learn to sense and understand our own bodies as well as how we relate to others. 

“It’s very exciting to be able to see how the baby represents their body [in the brain] before they have any language,” said lead author Andrew Meltzoff, the co-director of I-LABS and a UW professor of psychology. “We think these things, imitation and empathy, build on the kinds of things we found.” 

Read the entire article here.

Excerpted from KNKX

UW Study: Babies Show Beginning Signs Of Empathy As Early As 7 Months

  FEB 1, 2018

Babies are aware of what’s happening to others far earlier than you might think. That’s what University of Washington scientists found when they studied how the sense of touch is reflected in a baby’s brain.

University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences Co-Director and psychology professor Andrew Meltzoff says with new brain imaging techniques, where a baby sits under a Magnetoencephalography machine, it really is possible to get inside a baby’s head.

“This allows us to see what part of the brain lights up when you touch their hand or touch their foot, which they enjoy so much,” Meltzoff said. 

Remarkably, he says, researchers found that same part of the brain lit up when the babies watched an adult’s foot or hand being touched. He says it’s evidence that babies as young as 7 months old figure out something vital to human connection.

Read the entire article here.