Narrator: This is Science Today. As many parents know, babies and toddlers are particularly attracted to glossy, reflective surfaces and they tend to mouth these shiny objects. According to Richard Coss, a psychologist at the University of California, Davis, this may be a holdover from when early primates were seeking water for survival. To understand this mouthing tendency, Coss compared how young children reacted to dull and shiny dinner plates and found the youngsters preferred to mouth the shiny plates.
Coss: People have known about mouthing in the sense that they've seen it a lot, but no one had systematically looked at the differences of textures or surface finishes that might affect mouthing.
Narrator: Coss' study has implications for the safe design and manufacturing of toys, utensils, plastic bags, household products and appliances.
Coss: I think the next step is to find ways of developing some specifications or at least some ideas that might mitigate some of the mouthing that might be applicable to containers and so on or possibly plastic bags.
For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.