How you hold your baby will tell you about your character
As you know, 90% of all people are right-handed. But why do most mothers prefer to keep their children on the left side? First of all, this answer comes to mind: holding a child on the left side, women release their right hand to do other work. After all, every young mother knows how many things to do at the same time when a small child appears. However, as it turns out, the manner of holding the child has nothing to do with the leading hand. All mothers — both right-handed and left-handed — prefer to keep their baby on the left side.
The question of why women in the vast majority of cases hold a child on the left side has been of interest to psychologists for many decades. A recent study by Italian scientists took us one step closer to answering this question.
A group of scientists from the University of Gabriele d’Anunzio (Chieti Pescara, Italy) conducted an experiment to check whether women who prefer to keep their baby on the left side are really prone to a more secure attachment.
It is known that there are two types of attachment – safe and dangerous. It is easier for people with secure attachment to establish and maintain constructive close relationships because they grew up with healthy, stable, interpersonal relationships since childhood. And vice versa: it is difficult for people who have a dangerous attachment to maintain healthy relationships with another person.
Scientists have hypothesized that the habit of holding a child on the left side is associated with safe attachment. This hypothesis was based on previous studies showing that the habit of holding the baby on the left side creates a strong emotional connection between the mother and the baby. Scientists attributed this to the specialization of the cerebral hemispheres. Holding the child to the left created “right-hemispheric” communication between the mother and the child. It is the right hemisphere of the brain that is responsible for emotional connections and a sense of attachment, especially in infancy and early childhood.
To test this hypothesis, researchers conducted an experiment in which 228 women aged 18 to 38 years participated. The experiment was as follows: the participants were asked to hold a doll that looked like a living baby in their arms for 10 seconds. To achieve objectivity, scientists each time placed a doll in front of the participants in different ways. Researchers watched how the participants held the doll: on the left or right side, or change position.
After completing this action, participants were asked to take two surveys. First, they filled out a questionnaire known as the Child Parental Relationship Report (PBI). It consists of 50 points and determines a person’s perception of his relationship with his parents during the first sixteen years of his life.
After that, the participants in the experiment filled out a questionnaire called “Experience in Intimate Relationships” (ECR). It determines the level of a person’s safe attachment in a romantic relationship.
What did the results of the experiment show? First, they confirmed the results of previous studies that women prefer to keep their baby on the left side. Among all participants in the experiment, 50% held the doll on the left side, 34% on the right, and 16% changed the pose during the experiment.
These results were supplemented by data from surveys. It turned out that women who preferred to keep the doll on the left side, for the most part, had safe affection with their mothers and partners. The researchers concluded from this: “In our sample, a secure attachment to the mother or partner creates a predisposition to keep the child on the left side.”
Among specialists in child development, disputes often arise on how to properly keep babies. What benefit can the results of a study of Italian scientists give in resolving this issue? The researchers themselves believe that the way to hold the child on the left side can be considered typical human behavior, and on the right side – atypical. In addition, they argue that the way you hold a child in a certain way can be associated with various factors, such as anxiety, stress, depression, and even the type of attachment.
Violations of socio-emotional states and attachment probably reduce the tendency of women to hold their baby on the left side. However, this tendency is also observed in women with moderate symptoms. It is likely that only when the violations are significant do women naturally change their way of holding a child.