Project Description

October 21, 2020

Still Face Experiment

Today we invite you to view, observe and engage in conversation about the still face experiment.  Below you will find two short clips, one with a mother and one with a father.

The still face experiment was developed by Edward Tronick in 1975, where a mother looks at her baby, and is asked to hold a ‘still face.’  The mother does not react to the baby’s behaviors. The reactions of the baby are observed.  Dr. Tronick described a situation where an infant, after three minutes of “interaction” with a non-responsive, blank-faced mother, “rapidly sobers and grows wary. He makes repeated attempts to get the interaction into its usual reciprocal pattern. When these attempts fail, the infant withdraws [and] orients his face and body away from his mother with a withdrawn, hopeless facial expression.”

(Tronick, Adamson, Als, & Brazelton, 1975)

As you watch the video, notice what is going on within your own body as you observe the mom and the baby.  How do you feel?  What do you notice happening (ex: increased heart rate, sweaty palms, etc.)?

  • As you watch the baby, consider what you see and hear.
  • As you watch the mom, consider what you see and hear.
Watch Now

As you watch the video, notice what is going on within your own body as you observe the dad and the baby.  How do you feel?  What do you notice happening (ex: increased heart rate, sweaty palms, etc.)?

  • As you watch the baby, consider what you see and hear.
  • As you watch the dad, consider what you see and hear.
Watch Now