Here’s how babies are actually manipulating you with their smiles

Have you ever felt yourself going slightly insane after a baby smiles at you? Hoping to make the little bundle of joy crack another grin, you make funny faces, ridiculous noises, and maybe sing every Disney song you know. I’m not the only one who does this right?

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego published a study that gives some insight into what’s going through a babies’ heads while you try to make them smile. According to their findings, babies want to see you smile as much as possible while exerting as little energy as possible. So, if one smile sends you into minutes of goo-goo-ga-ing and laughing at yourself, mission accomplished.

Though the study, which involved watching interactions between 13 moms and their 4 to 17-week-old infants, did not prove whether or not babies are conscious of their manipulative ways, it did show that the tiny humans have goals. The fact that their goal is to make their moms smile as much as possible is pretty darn cute, and may be the best defense mechanism for taking parents’ minds off of the never-ending diaper changing.

The research team at UCSD programmed a small robot to mimic how and when babies smile. Students interacted with the robo-babe, which exhibited the use of “sophisticated timing,” or awareness of when to smile. Just as with the real, non-made-of-metal toddlers, the cyber baby minimized how many times it smiles while maximizing how many times its visitors smiled.

So, the next time a baby flashes its pearly whites – er, lack thereof – remember, your smile is the goal. To help you enjoy this newfound information, here’s three minutes of wee little babies tricking you into being happy.

(Image via here.)