Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pacifiers revisited, New Research

Photo: Baby with pacifier

New research from the University of Wisconsin indicates that pacifier use may interfere with the ability to mimic facial expressions related to emotions, which in turn leads to more difficulty in understanding and reading emotions later in life. This seems to affect boys more than girls. The article suggests that use of pacifiers to sleep does not have any relationship to this but having a paci in the mouth during most of the waking hours, especially during times of social play, will impact a boys ability to read other people later in life. The research was triggered because it was noted that older people who used botox were unable to move their faces to express their emotions and, subsequently, indicated that they did not feel emotions as strongly. The researcher thought about what this might mean if you always had something in your mouth that did not allow you to make facial expressions during critical growth times in infancy. Their research seems to show an effect of heavy pacifier use during waking hours in infant boys. Another thing to consider for your infant. There are some benefits to controlled use of pacifiers but the key is limit the use for the maximum benefit and the least damage. There is a previous post in this blog about pacifier use that discusses the issue as well. The link below leads to one article on the subject. The research is published in The Journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology this month. The picture is from the Wisconsin news article sited below.

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