Lindsey sent me this remarkable video of her three month old son Dominic laughing at his daddy ripping paper. As far as I know, he’s the youngest baby ever to find this amusing. Well, at first he finds it rather shocking but then he has a good old chuckle. This is rather amazing because at 3 months old Dominic is much, much younger than any other babies who find this amusing. Micah, the baby that started the craze was 8 months old. Lily, a previous contributor to this project was 5 months. Dominic is almost half her age, he has probably only just started laughing.
This certainly challenges my ideas about why babies might find this funny. My initial thoughts was that babies were surprised that a solid object the paper could be broken into pieces. Researcher Rene Baillargeon has found some evidence that babies as young as three months have some sense of ‘naïve physics‘. They seem to understand that objects are solid and things fall to the ground.
Maybe it is simpler than that? Perhaps, the babies just think the sound is funny. Certainly, my results so far suggest that babies this young have a very simple sense of humour that’s all about physical sensations, above all else they like tickling, raspberries and other silly noises. Maybe, ripping paper just sounds funny? Maybe it is just that mummy and daddy are funny whenever they do something new and unexpected? In baby science we always have to consider the simple explanations, because we mustn’t forget how new, strange and overwhelming the world is in those first few months.
With your help, maybe we can test this theory. Perhaps you could try ripping up things that don’t make the same noise (slices of bread or sliver foil perhaps?) Maybe you could try ripping the paper behind your baby’s back so they can hear the noise but not see the paper. Please, send us your experiments.
Thanks again to Dominic, Lindsey and Anthony for this lovely surprise.
3 Comments on “Your Babies #013: Youngest ever fan of ripping paper”
Welcome visitors from the BBC | The Baby Laughter project says:
[…] Here you can read about why he’s a world record holder. […]
Your Babies #025: Dominic is back | The Baby Laughter project says:
[…] Dominic? He’s a world record breaker and the star of BBC’s coverage of our project. He’s an old friend of the Baby Laughter […]
Welcome readers of the Daily Mail - The Baby Laughter project says:
[…] At just three months Dominic is the youngest ever baby fan of ripping paper. He is less than half the age of famous internet star Baby Micah. The fact that a baby as young as Dominic finds this funny is a real challenge to our understanding of their knowledge of the world. Read more here. […]