Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First blush: When babies get embarrassed

Put on some music and invite a rambunctious 2-year-old to dance, and you'll likely get an unabashed show. But an intriguing transition occurs between the ages of 2 and 3, says Philippe Rochat, professor of psychology. Three-year-olds are more likely to hesitate before moving to the music. They may refuse and seek refuge in the bosom of their mothers. Those who dance may blush – especially if someone laughs at the performance.

"The fear of social rejection is the mother of all fears," Rochat says. "It's a very powerful phenomenon – I think it's probably even stronger than the drive for sex. It helps define us as a species, and it cuts across all cultures."

Rochat's latest book is called "Others in Mind: The Origins of Self-Consciousness."

What is your baby thinking?


  1. Rochat's latest book Others in Mind: The Origins of Self-Consciousness is available at Emory's Woodruff Library at call number BF575 .S4 R63 2009 on the 9th floor.

  2. This is one of the most interesting books I have read in the past year. Highly readable, and highly recommended!