A bunch of psychologists analysed what makes newborns giggle and turned it into a song
There are perhaps few things more universally adored than the sound of babies laughing. In the hierarchy of YouTube virulence, the chuckles of a cherubic infant fall in line behind gaming videos, cute cats, conspiracy theorists, and newsroom bloopers, but have their own niche of devotees.
But how can you actually make a baby laugh? Well, one way is to gather a group of professional musicians, throw in some psychologists, and conduct rigorous scientific research in the quest to find the song equivalent to Pavlov’s bell.
As explained by developmental psychologist Caspar Addyman of the University of London, a laughter-provoking song needs to have a number of things for baby’s audible enjoyment. As explained on The Conversation, the piece of music should have “musical devices like drum rolls, key changes and rising pitch glides to provide opportunities for anticipation and surprise.”
The melody should also have a quick and breezy tempo, something akin to the speedier heartbeat of a baby, as well as a female singer, because it turns out that babies show a preference for women’s voices.
Roping singer Imogen Heap into the experiment, 26 babies between six and 12 months old were brought into the UL lab, where the psychologists recorded the babies’ responses to a number of different songs, coding their laughs, smiles, and dancing to figure out what they liked the most.
After using the data to devise the perfect melody, next came the lyrics. Addyman and his team surveyed 2,500 parents to figure out which words or noises were most likely to elicit a positive response from their baby, including animal cries, blowing raspberries, and making cutesy noises. You can listen to the song in full below: