The Straits Times
Published on Sep 24, 2012

Pacifiers may stunt emotional growth of baby boys through to adulthood


(THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - United States (US) researchers for the first time have linked heavy pacifier use among baby boys to poorer emotional maturity through to adulthood.

Lead author Paula Niedenthal, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said a baby with a pacifier in its mouth is less able to mirror expressions -- a child's first communication.

The researchers found six and seven-year-old boys who had spent more time with pacifiers in their mouths when younger were less likely to mimic the emotional expressions of faces peering out from a video.

In addition, college-age men who reported -- by their own recollections or their parents' -- more pacifier use as kids scored lower than their peers on common tests of perspective-taking, a component of empathy, Prof Niedenthal said.