In a paper published in the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UWM) argue that pacifiers may in fact impair the emotional development of infant boys, primarily through preventing them from trying on various facial expressions.
The findings apply to children whose parents use pacifiers frequently and for prolonged periods. The team made the correlation after conducting three different experiments on this topic, PsychCentral
“By reflecting what another person is doing, you create some part of the feeling yourself. That’s one of the ways we understand what someone is feeling – especially if they seem angry, but they’re saying they’re not; or they’re smiling, but the context isn’t right for happiness,” the team explains.
By always chewing on a pacifier, the infants are prevented from mirroring the facial expressions of parents and other caregivers, and this is a very important aspect of their development.