The Still Face Experiment

Last Friday was Infant Mental Health Awareness Day and we came across this informative video on a number of child development sites.  Infant specialists have for years been trying expose the myth that infants cannot become depressed- a whopping % of parents believe that children cannot become depressed until elementary school. Research done over the last thirty years clearly has proven otherwise. Studies have shown that infants of depressed mothers show signs of depression from very early in life. This video features Dr. Edward Tieney, the Director of the Zero to Three Organization

What we find so fascinating is how quickly the infant is aware that her mother has changed. While this infant is lucky enough to have a warm responsive mother most of the time, we wonder about all the infants who experience this disconnect on a daily or perhaps hourly basis. Experiments like these are at the center of policy makers calls for increased support for at risk parents and their children. When a child endures this disconnect continuously she is at an increased risk for attachment difficulties, depression,  and other mental health issues in the future. 
For those of us who are not at risk for these problems, it makes it so understandable how we all instinctively want to smile and respond to a baby when we see them! There is fascinating research being done on the reciprocal benefits of empathy and compassion- more of that to come.
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