Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Young Minds at Work

Image result for toddler

Environmental & Science Education
Early Childhood
Edward Hessler

I've watched and listened to the reactions of quite a few young children, infants or toddlers to Elmo and the Italian opera singer/songwriter Andrea Bocelli, singing a rendition of Con te partero (Time to Say Goodbye).  Perhaps you have as well.

Each one is deeply moving and make my heart sing.

All of the clips I've watched quickly become favorites but the one I've viewed most is infant Abriel. There is so much to see and hear as he watches and listens as well as to wonder about. All of the videos make me think that there must be many building blocks in place for infant knowing, feeling and expressiveness.

I'm slow on the uptake and had never heard of the "Still Face Experiment," a classic as it turns out. It was first presented by Edward Tronick at a professional meeting in 1975! What Tronick and colleagues did was have a mother and her infant interact and then have the mother turn away and then turn her face back to the infant but this time her face is non-responsive and expressionless.

The infant is at first sober-sided and confused, trying hard to figure out what is going on but soon attempts in a variety of ways to restore the obviously satisfying interaction with the mother. Ultimately all attempts fail and the infant withdraws emotionally and also physically, turning away from the mother and becoming angry as well as screams loudly in frustration and pain.

This response has been replicated many times to explore differences such as gender, culture, infants who are deaf or have been exposed to drugs, etc. It may be viewed here. Dr. Tronick discusses it here.

Tronick directs the Child Development Unit, University of Massachusetts. Its work includes child development, parenting research and infant-parent therapeutic programs.

No comments:

Post a Comment