Based on an experiment that proved that older children who laugh have enhanced their cognitive abilities, a French team of scientists decided to try out the experiment on toddlers under 18-months old. The research was made to see whether using humor could increase the learning abilities of infants.
The study was simple, the scientists divided the kids in 2 groups, each having an adult as a test subject. The adult in the first group grabbed an out of reach toy and played with it normally. In the second group before playing with the toy the adult threw it on the ground, action which made half of the kids laugh. The research concluded that the group of kids who laughed learned how to play with the toy effectively and faster than the other group of children.
Just like in older children, positive emotions increase dopamine levels in the brain having a positive effect on cognition and learning. At least this is one of the explanations the team gave. Why the toddlers ability to learn seems to be related to laughter isn’t that obvious and besides their first explanation there might be another one.
Babies are temperamental beings, the way they interact with people around them is based on their emotional environment. They learn by mimicking and copying the actions of others and chances are they will be more interested to interact with smiling and happy adults rather than gloomy and bored people.
It is obvious that positive emotions make toddlers more interactive but how it actually helps them improve their learning skill is still a matter of research.