Navigation Links
Fear, anger or pain -- Why do babies cry?

Spanish researchers have studied adults' accuracy in the recognition of the emotion causing babies to cry. Eye movement and the dynamic of the cry play a key role in recognition.

It is not easy to know why a newborn cries, especially amongst first-time parents. Although the main reasons are hunger, pain, anger and fear, adults cannot easily recognise which emotion is the cause of the tears.

"Crying is a baby's principal means of communicating its negative emotions and in the majority of cases the only way they have to express them," as explained to SINC by Mariano Chliz, researcher at the University of Valencia.

Chliz participates in a study along with experts from the University of Murcia and the National University of Distance Education (UNED) which describes the differences in the weeping pattern in a sample of 20 babies between 3 and 18 months caused by the three characteristic emotions: fear, anger and pain.

In addition, the team observed the accuracy of adults in recognising the emotion that causes the babies to cry, analysing the affective reaction of observers before the sobbing.

According to the results published recently in the 'Spanish Journal of Psychology', the main differences manifest in eye activity and the dynamics of the cry.

"When babies cry because of anger or fear, they keep their eyes open but keep them closed when crying in pain," states the researcher.

As for the dynamic of the cry, both the gestures and the intensity of the cry gradually increase if the baby is angry. On the contrary, the cry is as intense as can be in the case of pain and fear.

The adults do not properly identify which emotion is causing the cry, especially in the case of anger and fear.

Nonetheless, "although the observers cannot recognise the cause properly, when babies cry because they are in pain, this causes a more intense affective reaction than when they cry because of angry or fear," outlines Chliz.

For the experts, the fact that pain is the most easily recognisable emotion can have an adaptive explanation, since crying is a warning of a potentially serious threat to health or survival and thus requires the carer to respond urgently.

Anger, fear and pain

When a baby cries, facial muscle activity is characterised by lots of tension in the forehead, eyebrows or lips, opening of the mouth and raised cheeks. The researchers observed different patterns between the three negative emotions.

As Chliz notices, when angry the majority of babies keep their eyes half-closed, either looking in apparently no direction or in a fixed and prominent manner. Their mouth is either open or half-open and the intensity of their cry increases progressively.

In the case of fear, the eyes remain open almost all the time. Furthermore, at times the infants have a penetrating look and move their head backwards. Their cry seems to be explosive after a gradual increase in tension.

Lastly, pain manifests as constantly closed eyes and when the eyes do open it is only for a few moments and a distant look is held. In addition, there is a high level of tension in the eye area and the forehead remains frowned. The cry begins at maximum intensity, starting suddenly and immediately after the stimulus.


Contact: SINC
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

Related medicine news :

1. CWRU study examines family struggles with anger and forgiveness when relative is dying
2. Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Jeff Nadrich Responds to News that Johnson & Johnson Inadequately Assessed Metal Hip Dangers
3. Puppy Born From Frozen Embryo May Offer Hope to Endangered Wildlife
4. Study Ties Gene to Dangerous Heart Valve Deposits
5. In Hospitals, Daily Antiseptic Bath May Prevent Dangerous Infections
6. Blood vessel cells coax colorectal cancer cells into more dangerous state
7. Newly Published Graph Discloses the Dangers and Deaths Linked with Digestive Disease
8. Super enzyme protects against dangers of oxygen
9. California Medical Malpractice Lawyer Dr. Bruce Fagel Explains the Danger of Anesthesia Injuries from Medical Negligence
10. Uncontrolled Risk Factors Put Stroke Survivors in Danger
11. COPD patients at risk of dangerous bacterial infections
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Fear, anger or pain -- Why do babies cry?
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Dr. Poneh Ghasri, dentist in West Hollywood ... 2015. The research, which was conducted at the Dental Institute at King's College London ... between stress during pregnancy and future dental health in the child. For years, researchers ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Protein is essential to good health. ... bone, and blood. But how much protein does the average man need in order ... according to the October 2015 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch . Most ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... Waycross, GA (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 ... ... charitable nonprofit promoting the establishment of telemedicine programs in communities throughout Georgia, along ... (FTP) announce the collective schedule for their regional telehealth summits for Fall 2015. ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 13, 2015 , ... According to an ESPN report published on ... teammate accidentally elbowed him in the left eye during the first day of practice ... of a series of setbacks, including a knee injury that has interfered with his ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... In an ongoing effort ... , a Southlake, Texas, child development and pediatric therapy center, is working with ... families about their options for receiving this kind of care for affected children. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... Fla. , Oct. 13, 2015   Vigilant ... of solutions that aid in the early detection and ... has awarded Vigilant,s founder and CEO, Matthew H.J. ... Year Award, which recognizes an entrepreneur who has made ... life sciences industry in the leadership of ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... WuXi PharmaTech (Cayman) Inc. (NYSE:  WX), a ... serving the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries, ... version of OncoWuXi, the first App in the ... and data on the go.  The OncoWuXi App ... to identify relevant tumor models for use in ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... 13, 2015   Happy Vitals ®, ... home testing kit for breast milk.  The ... an unparalleled, detailed assessment of the nutrition ... carbs and key vitamins—all charted over time ... health tracking.  In addition, Happy Vitals also offers ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: