Dancing with Babies Helps Them Become Selfless

September 14, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. simultaneously /ˌsaɪməlˈteɪniəsli, ˌsɪm əl-/ (adv.) – at the same time or instant
Example: Two famous bands conducted concerts simultaneously.

2. benevolent /bəˈnɛv ə lənt/ (adj.) – having personal instinct to help and/or to be kind to others
Example: Parents are naturally benevolent to their children.

3. in unison /ɪn/  /ˈyu nə sən, -zən/ (idiom) – refers to two actions that are happening simultaneously
Example: The twin babies would often smile and laugh in unison.

4. lend a helping hand /lɛnd ə ˈhɛl pɪŋ hænd/ (idiom) – the act of doing something in order to help or assist another person or group
Example: Parents who lend a helping hand to their friends are likely to have benevolent children.

5. altruistic /ˌæl truˈɪs tɪk/ (adj.) – having a natural and unselfish tendency to be concerned with the well-being of other people
Example: The woman who saved the baby from the car crash was celebrated for her altruistic act.


Read the text below.
A recent study claims that simultaneously dancing with infants could inspire them to be benevolent as they grow. 

In an experiment, the researchers entertained a number of infants through activities such as bouncing, clapping, singing, and dancing while music is playing in the background. It was found that the activities, when done in unison, inspired the babies to be helpful to the adults they shared the activities with.

Sixty-eight infants participated in the experiment. One at a time, the babies were carried by an adult while another stood in front of them. The participants were divided into two groups. For the first group, the dancing activities were synchronized—with both babies and adults moving at a matching pace. On the other hand, the adults in the second group moved in different rhythms.

After the dancing activities, the adult who stood opposite the babies acted out simple tasks such as drawing pictures. The adult would then pretend to accidentally drop an object in front of the infants. The baby’s decision to lend a helping hand to the adult by picking up and giving back the object demonstrates the child’s altruistic behavior.

Based on the study’s results, the researchers concluded that infants from the first group became more helpful than those from the other group.

The study was led by two doctoral students of McMaster University in Canada. Head author Laura Cirelli [CHI-re-LEE] believes that movements and music have an important impact on a child’s social behavior from an early age. Her study further shows that simple experiences shared between parent and child shape the way a child builds social relationships in the future.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think the babies in the experiment became helpful particularly to those they share experiences with?
·         What do you think are other activities that are a good influence to infants?

Discussion B

·         Do you think young people today are benevolent? Why or why not?
·         Why do you think some people choose not to be benevolent? 

September 14, 2014