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Film launch ‘The connected baby’
Bringing infants’ remarkable abilities to life is the aim of a new film, ‘The Connected Baby’, due to be premiered today, 25 June, at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee. A DVD of the film will be released later this year, with a limited number of copies available free to the public.
The film was funded by a Society Public Engagement Grant and produced jointly by Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk (Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology, University of Dundee) and Jonathan Robertson (independent filmmaker based in Fife).
The film demonstrates, using insights from scientific studies of infant psychology, how babies come in to the world already communicating, already social, already able to engage actively in relationships with the people around them.
Dr Suzanne Zeedyk explained: “At one time, we believed that babies were born into a mass of blooming, buzzing confusion. Science has come a long way since then. We now have a mass of findings, from both psychology and neuroscience, which show that babies come into the world already emotionally aware of and connected to other people. And we’ve realised that the emotional responses they receive back from other people actually mould the pathways developing in their young brains. This knowledge is fascinating, and it’s also important. It means that the way we engage with our babies, from the moment they are born, has an impact on their long-term development.”
One of the parents participating in the film said: “When I saw the footage, I could not believe how attentive my baby was. I could see every little nuance – the way his eyes never left my face, how his movements actually coordinated with my own, how synchronised our facial expressions could be. I think I hadn’t noticed this so much before, because it happens so fast in real time. It’s like a new world now! Just watching the film has helped me understand him better, and made me more confident.”
The film contains commentary from some of the leading infant researchers in the UK, along with extensive footage of mothers, fathers, and grandmothers engaged in playful interaction with their youngsters.
Dr Zeedyk concluded: “Interest in the early years is now huge, in a number of countries across the world. We’ve come to realise that we can better tackle many of our current societal challenges by giving closer attention to babies’ emotional needs. We produced this film in the hope that it would be useful to – and enjoyed by -- anyone engaging with young children, either as parents or professionals.”
This yeat the Society made £40,000 available in Public Engagement Grants to its members. Go to the Sharing our Science pages for more information.