Japanese researchers studied two babies crying over a period of six months and believe the infants are capable of the clever deception.
Hiroko Nakayama, a researcher at the University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo, said one of the babies faked crying, after filming the children for an hour twice a month, for half a year.
Dr Nakayama told The British Psychological Society that fake crying successfully attracts the attention of a parent and contributes 'greatly' to an infant's social development as well as their emotional development.
She added: "Infants who are capable of fake crying might communicate successfully with their caregivers in this way on a daily basis. Fake crying could add much to their relationships."
The scientists coded the video footage in five second segments to document 68 episodes of crying for seven-month-old 'Baby R' and 34 episodes for 'Baby M' who was nine-months-old at the beginning of the study.
They looked for the presence of emotion in the minutes before and after the babies cried and found that all of Baby M's crying episodes were preceded by evidence of upset, shown by the child grimacing, making noises or looking sad.
However, the researchers also found that there was an instance when Baby R cried shortly after smiling and laughing.
While they said that 98 per cent of Baby R's crying episodes did follow a negative effect, the incident at 11 months was recognised by her mother as fake crying and analysis confirmed this.
"Infant R appeared to cry deliberately to get her mother's attention," said Nakayama, who added that 'she showed smile immediately after her mother came closer'.
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