May 14, 2019

Over 20 years ago, Ed Tronick’s ‘Still Face’ experiments demonstrated the importance of human connection and recognition. He asked parents to play normally with their young babies, laughing and talking with them, before looking away and then turning back towards them, holding a neutral expression. After a moment of surprise, noticing that the parent’s were no longer responding to them, the babies tried to establish a connection. They waved, pointed, shouted and when these attempts failed they withdrew and turned away in obvious distress.

His suggestion that human connection is required for psychological wellbeing, has been consistently replicated and further developed in recent decades. Researchers (Melzhoff 2005, Knox 2011) have concluded that it is through the visual cues from our  ‘mirror neuron system’ that we can recognise the intentionality of others and use that to build ego strength; the foundation for a confident and healthy personality. It has also been suggested (Nummenmaa 20...

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