The still face experiment is disturbing. At first, a parent and baby play together, dad smiling and cooing, baby clapping her hands and laughing. Then, prompted by the researcher, the dad turns his face away from the stroller and when he turns back his face is completely expressionless. Baby tries to get dad to smile again, but he keeps up the flat affect, remaining neutral and unresponsive. Within a few minutes, the child dissolves, crying, squirming, and desperately trying to make a connection. On a second prompt, dad turns away again, and when he looks at baby again he’s his normal self, soothing the baby who quickly recovers. Baby forgets all and gets back to playtime as if nothing happened. Only the viewer is left shaken.
Parental attention is crucially important to the healthy development of babies and young children. You don’t need the still face experiment to understand