[By: Aude Carteron]
Summer wouldn’t be summer without book recommendations, and I wanted to tell you about the refreshing vacation read brought to you by ‘The Laughing Baby’ by Caspar Addyman. Perfect when paired with a deckchair and total sunblock.
You come for the catchy title, you stay for the entertainment of enthralling topics written in a captivating and fluid style. Add to this Caspar’s highly contagious enthusiasm for his field. If the heat is keeping you away from your summer workout goals, the book will at least exercise your cheek muscles through its wit as well as its up-lifting and moving messages.
I haven’t read many science books that strike the right balance between scientific richness with appropriate amount of references, and accessible style of writing, skipping tortuous details that only researchers would care about. This book highlights key debates that exists for long in the field of developmental psychology, such as what is innate and what is learnt, as well as presents opposing views in a balanced way. You even get to understand some applications of computational modelling.
– Are you a parent?
I can imagine you will not only relate to the topics but also get to think about your everyday interactions with your baby from a new perspective. As the first chapter clarifies, it is not a book on parenting advice, but I am convinced you will get insights into baby science that could make your life with your baby even more delightful.
– Not lucky enough to have a nephew baby around to visit and match the findings to your own observations?
You will enjoy it just as much, as the scope of the book broadens to human nature in general.
– Are you a psych student?
Reading the Laughing Baby won’t feel like studying, yet you will learn so much.
– Are you already an expert in the field?
The link that Caspar establishes between key concepts in developmental psychology and laughter will not fail to make you see things from a different perspective.
As every great book, it comes with personal anecdotes. Caspar has a remarkable number of exciting adventures to share with us including stories about his interactions with eminent researchers in the field. Special shoutout to our own Denis with this quote: “I vividly remember being taught in Denis Mareschal’s undergraduate class that you could leave a newborn baby dangling by its own grip from a washing line if you wanted. I have yet to meet anyone who has tried this and I don’t recommend it.” (I don’t want to spoil more contents but hope this will pique your curiosity).
Finally, societal implications of developmental findings aren’t ignored, with mentions to works highlighting the benefits for children of public investment in quality day care.
I only regret that among the fascinating digressions beyond babies, there weren’t comments about the emergence of children’s humour understanding and production abilities later in development. To be fair, it’s probably too much to fit in one book (let’s hope for a part 2!)
Babbling more about this beautiful book would only delay what you ought to be doing now: get The Laughing baby if you haven’t got a copy yet. If you are still hesitant, maybe try a free sample. While you are waiting for your copy to arrive, Penny wrote an excellent primer on babies’ humour right on this MOTION blog. Caspar also gave a fascinating TEDx talk. And last but not least, he hasn’t paid me to write this blog!