Weeping Baby

Associate Professor of Psychology Siu-Lan Tan wrote an article (“Why Does this Baby Weep when her Mother Sings?“) for Psychology Today that elucidates an infant’s actions in a You Tube video gone viral. The video shows an infant–Mary Lynne Leroux–emoting deeply to her mother’s singing. Tan suggests the infant’s reactions result from psychological phenomena called emotional contagion and emotional synchrony in combination with the bell-shaped melody of the song itself and just plain wonder. Of course, people (21 million views and counting) are responding more to the magic of the piece rather than its clinical explanation. And the latter in no way diminishes the former. To the question of whether her analysis made the video “any less magical,” Tan wrote, “In my view, it may be even more remarkable and even more compelling to think that what we are witnessing may not just be the power of the human voice and singing—but a window into how deeply and powerfully we are moved by the emotions of those around us, even in our earliest interactions.” It’s an intriguing video and article.