One of the first things you learn as a human development major is that we are born with the ability to do or imitate many things. We seem rather helpless as babies, well because in fact, we are. Just because we are, in all reality, helpless doesn’t mean we haven’t developed things to make us seem as though we aren’t. We, as humans, are born with five natural resources, that are used to help us stay alive. One of those five reflexes that proves that babies have adapted things to keep themselves alive once they realize are helpless, is the moro reflex.
Probably the most important of our first five reflexes, the moro reflex is one that allows us to attempt to stop something tragic. The moro reflex, is our reflex to stop us from falling. Now you may be questioning how as an infant (who cant walk) we will be falling, but it actually occurs when an outside force may be to blame. In infants the moro reflex is activated when we feel as though we are being dropped. Whether we would be falling off a changing table or being dropped by our caregiver, the moro reflex works the same. When the moro reflex is triggered we reach out our arms and legs looking for something to hold onto. This is the natural reaction to stop ourselves from falling, even into adulthood.
So why are we born with this reflex? Not much research has been put into how we acquire this reflex in utero, but the research as to why is pretty self explanatory. Studying infants is usually difficult, so researchers study what they can. We’ve adapted to protect ourselves-the first five reflexes we have are for protection. The moro reflex is something so important that a baby is naturally born with it. If infants didn’t have the moro reflex they couldn’t even attempt to catch themselves during a fall. Although unlikely the moro reflex would actually result in a baby catching themselves (or even having to actually be used), it’s the adaptation that matters. We as humans know to protect ourselves. The flight or fight response, reacting to painful stimuli and the moro reflex show that we are born knowing that if we want to protect ourselves, we have to do something about it.