“The ability to read different facial expressions matures earlier with kids who have been home with two parents,” said Clara Schmitow, child psychologist, to daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).
Schmitow has been researching how infants interpret their environment by using “corneal eye-tracking” through a computer to see how the babies looked at their parents and others.
By looking at two groups of fifty children, divided up into those who had stayed at home with one parent and those that had stayed home with two,
Schmitow could measure the differences.
She found that the children who had been able to have both parents at home for their first few months at 14 months were more proficient at interpreting emotional facial expressions.
“The study indicates that the sharing of parental leave between parents may affect how the child understands other people’s emotional expressions,” Schmitow said in a statement.
She also noted that the children seemed to react strongest to happy or frightened faces.
The study The Social World Through Infants’ Eyes: How Infants Look at Different Social Figures will be presented as a doctoral thesis at Uppsala University on March 29th.