U.S. research shows infants are much more emotionally and intellectually complex than was previously believed.

For more than a century, it was believed infants were simpleminded creatures who mimicked those around them and grasped only the most basic emotions — happy, sad and angry.

Newsweek reports in its Aug. 15 cover story, Your Baby’s Brain, science is giving a more accurate picture of what goes on inside babies’ hearts and heads.

Long before babies form their first word or attempt to sit up, they are already mastering complex emotions — jealousy, empathy, frustration — that were once thought to be learned much later when they are toddlers.

Andrew Meltzoff, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, found infants at about age 1 begin to infer what others are thinking by following the gazes of others. He says this helps explain why language occurs more slowly in blind children, whose mothers tend not to interact as much with their babies.

More here.