Babies react to a cuddle, University of Portsmouth study finds

From left, Paul Stanley, Jo Crisp, George Heasman, Mercedes Bevan, Luke Galea and Bethany Bevan from Highbury College

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BABIES as young as two months know when they are about to be picked up and change their body posture in preparation, according to new research.

Professor Vasu Reddy, of the University of Portsmouth, has found most babies aged two to four months understand they are about to be picked up the moment their mothers come towards them with their arms outstretched and that they make their bodies go still and stiff in anticipation.

RESEARCH Babies react to a cuddle, University of Portsmouth study finds

RESEARCH Babies react to a cuddle, University of Portsmouth study finds

All infants in the study also stilled their bodies and thrashed around less.

It’s the first study to see how babies adjust their posture in anticipation to offset the potentially destabilising effect of being picked up.

The findings could be used as an early indicator of developmental problems, including autism.

Professor Reddy said: ‘We didn’t expect such clear results. From these findings we predict this awareness is likely to be found even earlier, possibly not long after birth.

“The results suggest we need to re-think the way we study infant development because infants seem to be able to understand other people’s actions directed towards them earlier than previously thought.’