Looks like babies have been tricking us. Just as many parents suspected, infants sometimes cry without actually being upset, a new study suggests. Instead, their tears are aimed at getting what they want, the Week reports. A researcher in Japan reviewed 102 crying episodes of two babies; he filmed the infants for 60 minutes a month over half a year, the BPS Research Digest reports. Usually, the infants appeared upset both before and after tears—but not always.
Moms called these moments "fake crying," the study says. In the case of one of the babies, 98% of crying episodes followed a negative experience. When she was 11 months old, however, she appeared cheerful and giggling both before and after an instance of tears. "Infant R appeared to cry deliberately to get her mother's attention," says the study's author. "She showed (a) smile immediately after her mother came closer." This particular infant had two siblings, whereas the other baby studied had none; it may be that R was competing for her mom's attention, but that's just speculation, the BPS Research Digest notes. (On the bright side, the smell of babies is like a drug to moms.)