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For infants, distinguishing between friends and strangers is a laughing matter

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Infants as young as five months can differentiate laughter between friends and between strangers, finds a new study.

It has been recently established that co-laughter — or simultaneous laughter between two or more individuals — allows adult listeners across different cultures and languages to quickly evaluate the nature of relationships between people: are they friends, acquaintances, or strangers?

The study suggests that the ability to detect this nature of social relationships is instilled early in human infancy, possibly the result of a detection system that uses vocal cues.
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“Infants’ sensitivity to different kinds of laughter might be one of the early emerging tools they use to understand and navigate the complex social world,” said Athena Vouloumanos, Associate Professor from the New York University.

“Very brief instances of shared laughter can reveal rich information about people’s relationships, detectable in infants as young as five months of age and universally by adults around the world,” added co-author Gregory Bryant, Professor at University of California-Los Angeles.

For the study, published in the Scientific Reports journal, the team examined how five-month-olds processed exchanges of co-laughter of adults — specifically, those who were strangers and those who were friends — by gauging how long they listened to these sounds.

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The team found that infants could not only differentiate between the laughter of friends and strangers, but, when given the choice, they preferred to listen longer to co-laughter between friends.

In another experiment, the team found that infants could tie co-laughter to judgments about human relationships.

“The ability to rapidly evaluate acoustic features in co-laughter that reveal social relationships between individuals appears early in human infancy and might be the product of an adaptive affiliation detection system that uses vocal cues,” the authors said.

Gadgets

FaceApp Seems to Be Now Blocking Users From India

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FaceApp, the photo editing app with age filters that have made the app viral virtually overnight, seems to be now blocking users from India. The app is still available for to download for Android and iOS respectively from Google Play and Apple’s App Store, but trying to use FaceApp from India now leads to error. The FaceApp block was reported by users on Twitter and confirmed independently by Gadgets 360. We’ve reached out to the company behind the app for a comment on the development, and will update this story as and when we hear from them.

If you are on Android and trying to use FaceApp from India, you might now be greeted with an error “Something went wrong, Please try again”. iOS users are getting a more cryptic “ApiRequestError error 6 – Operation couldn’t be completed” message. The problem was first reported by some Twitter users, and confirmed by Gadgets 360.

FaceApp, which uses AI to apply various effects to your face, including the viral old-age filter, has been trending the last few days

Apart from the old-age filter, FaceApp can also “make you smile”, converting a regular photo into one where you are smiling. Similar to the old-age filter, another filter lets you look younger, while yet another FaceApp filter lets you change your style and experiment with different hair styles. With some points in its terms of service raising concerns.

In a separate issue in 2017, FaceApp was found to have a dedicated “hot” filter that looked to “lighten” the skin tone of users. The racist filter was removed after it sparked outrage among many users.

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