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"There is a build-up of some kind of tension or excitation..."
February 20, 2013 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Babies laugh at ripping paper, this is well established. But do you know why?
posted by mikoroshi (36 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
They revel in destruction.
posted by Renoroc at 11:29 AM on February 20, 2013 [16 favorites]


Literally! They revel in the fact of destruction itself, but even more in the unexpectedness of a parent participating in it.
posted by Fraxas at 11:37 AM on February 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


Guessing before reading the why link - either it reminds them of some ancestral motherly thing, or it tickles their ears.

...

Nope! They just think it's crazy.

Seems like this could come back and bite you, though... leave the kid to his business and she tears up her birth certificate or something, laughing madly.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:37 AM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I watched that why video all the way to the end and I still don't know why that baby is laughing.

"Window into cognitive development somethingsomething it's incongruous and not something you would normally do with a piece of paper especially with a parent somethingsomething build up of tension or excitation."

It's hella cute, though.
posted by notyou at 11:40 AM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't care if I never see another damned cat video again (yes I know I'm in the minority) but I could watch baby videos all day. Babies rule.

And babies laugh at a LOT of inexplicable stuff. I've got a video of my then-one-year-old, howling with laughter every time whipped cream touches his tongue. Because whipped cream is HILARIOUS.
posted by jbickers at 11:44 AM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Did you hear the one about the psychologist pretending to explain why babies laugh?
He says, "If you tell a joke and you don't do the punchline right, nobody laughs."
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:47 AM on February 20, 2013 [13 favorites]


> They revel in destruction.

My 18 month-old nephew seemingly cannot abide objects resting on raised flat surfaces. My sister and her family were staying at my house this weekend past and he spent every waking minute grabbing things on tables and flinging them onto the floor like he was getting paid to do it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:54 AM on February 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's like when a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat or a coin from behind our ear. It impresses us because we didn't think anybody had a rabbit in a hat or a coin behind our ear. The baby is impressed because they didn't know you could turn one bit of paper into two and it proper blows their little minds.

PS The third film is the best.
posted by Jehan at 12:06 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is no way I could have paper and a baby in the house and not do this constantly if this was the reaction I would get. I guess I might get tired of it, but I really can't imagine how long it would take to happen.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:20 PM on February 20, 2013 [15 favorites]


I'm pretty sure they're just drunk.
posted by The Potate at 12:27 PM on February 20, 2013 [11 favorites]


It isn't because one discrete thing is becoming many things?
posted by sibboleth at 12:27 PM on February 20, 2013


When my son was a year old or so, he'd laugh that way when I played a beer bottle, like in this video. I assume it's the same sort of thing.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:47 PM on February 20, 2013


Yeah, it's the build-up. Babies are suckers for an adult suddenly being very still and pointing to something, and then doing something weird to it. Then doing it again, and again and again, with mild variations. I can fascinate and amuse my 1 year old nephew for hours rattling a window crank.

--PA, Professional Baby Humorist
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:59 PM on February 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


I keep sitting my 7 month old down and ripping paper in front of her, because hilarity. She, however, just looks at me like "dude, it's paper, what's funny about that?"

Little pain in the butt.
posted by tristeza at 1:09 PM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


My kid was incredibly amused by cold things. Put an ice cube in a cup, let him touch it, Hilarity Ensues.

Nowadays, all I have to do is make a joke involving butts in some way. Seven is a great age.
posted by emjaybee at 1:13 PM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's the long version of the third (best!) link, Baby Ethan Laughing. I reckon it's just about the cutest thing in the world. After Yerin anyhow.
posted by Iteki at 1:15 PM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


My niece was entranced when her mom and I started singing the same song at the same time. Completely mesmerized.

Life is full of wonders.
posted by vitabellosi at 1:16 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh fuck, I think I want a baby now.
posted by ominous_paws at 2:00 PM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


So babies laugh at ripping paper for the same reason older kids and (some) adults laugh at farting? Works for me.
posted by davejay at 2:07 PM on February 20, 2013


Oh fuck, I think I want a baby now.

Keep up with the fucking. Sometimes it works too quickly. Sometimes it takes many years.

In that last link, why are they so sure that it is the sound and not the sight of paper being ripped?
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:36 PM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


My two-year-old daughter discovered that farts were funny when she was about 14 months. I can't help but encourage her, because she says "baba poot!" and laughs like a lunatic, which makes me laugh like a lunatic. I cannot imagine this is doing anything to help her etiquette later in life, but who cares. Poot!
posted by 1adam12 at 3:15 PM on February 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Nowadays, all I have to do is make a joke involving butts in some way. Seven is a great age."

So is 55. Butts are funny.
posted by Mcable at 3:55 PM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


My daughter let out a REALLY good belch one day.
All I could say was, "Someday, a boy will see you do that and fall in love."
She was 5.
posted by TangerineGurl at 3:56 PM on February 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Guys, the humor is obvious. The joke is that one piece of paper is now two pieces of paper. Like, what? how does that work? seriously.
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:10 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


"If you tell a joke and you don't do the punchline right, nobody laughs."
That doesn't explain Dane Cook.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:28 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ever since the first time my first child laughed, I've been convinced and told people repeatedly that there's no more wonderful sound in the world than a baby laughing.

Except maybe laughing after a fart.
posted by yiftach at 4:29 PM on February 20, 2013


Because babies are creepy?
posted by rainbaby at 5:10 PM on February 20, 2013


Guys, the humor is obvious. The joke is that one piece of paper is now two pieces of paper. Like, what? how does that work? seriously.

It's a government joke. You either laugh or cry.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:48 PM on February 20, 2013


TangerineGurl: "My daughter let out a REALLY good belch one day.
All I could say was, "Someday, a boy will see you do that and fall in love."
She was 5.
"

Apparently, at one point during junior high or high school my husband and his gang-of-buddies-since-fifth-grade somehow discovered that one of them had it in his head that girls didn't fart. "Duh, man, what do you think girls do when they get gas if they don't fart?" his friends demanded.

"I dunno…" he said, "…explode?"

So pretty much ever since we met, any time I fart my husband beams at me with affection and says, cheerfully, "Not gonna explode!"
posted by Lexica at 8:05 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't even like babies much, but those ones are really cute.
posted by lollusc at 8:29 PM on February 20, 2013


They laugh because they know you will forget about that one little piece of paper that they can glom onto and shove in their mouths and gum until it's a disgusting soppy mess.

Then they try to choke on it.

That will teach you to laugh at a baby.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:06 PM on February 20, 2013


I am not a baby person nor am I a big laffer but I watched the Discovery video because I was interested in the science, and about two minutes in I realized my jaw hurt and my mouth was all dry because I had been sitting there with a mouth-wide-open grin of total primate delight at the laughing baby. Ow. Ha. Ow.
posted by gingerest at 9:31 PM on February 20, 2013


My first did not laugh at this. We have a second, a 6-month-old baby. We have paper. I'm going to try this tomorrow.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:04 AM on February 21, 2013


I'm looking at Ethan there, and I can't help but suppose part of this is the supreme comfort of laughing with a parent/caregiver. What's more connected than laughing together? Having a laugh with parents is perfect peace. The entire universe feels in order!
posted by Goofyy at 1:11 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not a fan of babies but I really really want to amuse my friend's 7-month-old with ripping paper now... I never knew this was a thing.
posted by Gordafarin at 4:57 AM on February 21, 2013




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