Pacifier Use May Damage Emotional Development

Filed under: Emotional Development - 02 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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A new study has revealed that pacifiers use can damage the emotional development of baby boys. The study showed that pacifiers stop babies from experiencing with facial expression, which potentially has important negative consequences on their normal development.

The study was performed by specialists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This is the first study made on the influence that pacifiers use has on infants. The results are quite shocking as the study actually shows that pacifiers damage the emotional development of babies.


The study focused on a group of people of collage age. The group was first divided into men who used pacifiers when being infants and men who did use them. The first group scored much lower on common emotional intelligence tests than the second group. The same study indicated that if men who used pacifiers scored lower, girls were not affected at all by pacifiers use.

According to researchers, babies learn to express their own emotions through body language. In fact, they use facial expressions and movements to be able to learn how to express such emotions. A pacifier will play a negative role on this matter, as it will stop the infant from learning.


“We can talk to infants, but at least initially they aren’t going to understand what the words mean. So the way we communicate with infants at first is by using the tone of our voice and our facial expressions,” one of the authors of this study, Paula Niedenthal, said according to Medical News Today. The researcher also added that parents usually take the results of such tests very personally. “Now these are suggestive results and they should be taken seriously,” Niedenthal concluded.

Is pacifier use a bag thing?

According to Niedenthal, pacifier use, despite the results of this study, is not a bad thing. “Probably not all pacifiers use is bad at all times, so how much is bad and when? We already know from this work that nighttime pacifier use doesn’t make a difference,” the specialist explained.


Parents should only be aware to not inhibit any of the body’s emotional representational system. Facial expressions are important for babies, who have not learned to speak yet. A pacifier can limit the baby’s ability to explore emotions, this is why parents should be very careful. Actually, parents should be attentive at anything that may affect the baby’s emotional development.

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