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The Baby Laughter Project

Birkbeck's world-famous BabyLab is launching a new study to help us understand babies' laughter

Scientists at the world-famous BabyLab at Birkbeck, University of London are launching a new study to help us understand more about that most delightful of sounds: a baby’s laughter. Long before they can talk babies can communicate their experience of the world through laughter and tears. The study will provide new perspectives on infants’ social and emotional development.

Dr Caspar Addyman hopes to collect evidence from hundreds of parents of children aged under 2 ½ years old, to discover how the things that make a baby laugh change during the first two years of life, and how these changes relate to other milestones in their cognitive development.

Dr Addyman said: “Much work is undertaken on infants’ social and emotional development but up until now laughter has been strangely neglected, with most studies focusing on moments of stress and confusion. I believe that studying when and why babies laugh will provide a good insight into what they understand about the world at different ages.”

A shared joke can help mother and baby to bond and, from toe-nibbling to peek-a-boo (the ultimate in baby entertainment), the things that babies chuckle at can explain how much they understand about their own bodies, about how to interact with others, and even about the basic laws of physics.

If you have a child under 2 ½ years old and would like to participate in the survey, which takes between 15-20 minutes to complete, or to find out more about the project, please visit

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