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Babies of anxious mothers are more attuned to threats than other babies are, suggests a study in Emotion. Researchers used eye-tracking technology to follow the gazes of 98 babies, ages 4 months to 24 months, as they watched pictures of happy, neutral and angry faces on a computer. After the babies focused on a photo, another picture would flash in their peripheral vision to distract them. The researchers measured how long it took the babies to shift their gaze from the face photo to the distracting one. They found that babies whose mothers scored higher on an anxiety scale took longer to look away from the angry faces. The finding could help explain how anxiety develops in children and point to ways to identify children at risk earlier, according to the researchers.

Babies of anxious mothers find it harder to look away from threats, one study finds.

Susie Bean Gives