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Studies show that toddlers are sensitive to the emotional dynamics of the interactions around them.
University of Washington researchers have found that toddlers as young as 18 months engage in what they call “emotional eavesdropping” by listening and watching emotional reactions directed by one adult to another and then using this emotional information to shape their own behavior.
The UW Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences reports research that indicates infants understand other people’s emotional states at a very young age; and it may be a precursor to ‘reading’ other people’s minds by understanding their emotional and psychological states.