Gestures, social referencing and empathy

We look at how with an attuned relationship and secure attachment, Orson and Mum are able to communicate with each other and how this in turn has led to the foundations for Orson to develop skills of empathy. This is linked to his  ability to now be able to check with his mum about her reaction to things that are happening.

Good for looking at

  • Social referencing
  • Facial expressions
  • Empathy
  • Tuning in
  • Routines
  • Babies
  • Parents
00:08
In just a month, Orson's use
00:10
of gestures has become more sophisticated.
00:14
He's using his hands to gesture
00:15
in increasingly conventional ways.
00:18
He knows that when Dad leaves and waves goodbye,
00:21
that he should use his hand to wave back to him.
00:25
Bye.
00:29
And now he often points to get what he wants.
00:33
are you looking at?
00:38
What is it?
00:41
What is it?
00:44
Is it this?
00:52
Hmm?
00:53
Now Orson knows that Mum can attend
00:55
to the same thing as him, he's able to use
00:58
his gaze to check with Mum that
00:59
what he's doing is okay.
01:01
Bye bye.
01:04
He looks at Mum to check how he should respond.
01:07
This is called social referencing.
01:10
Bye bye.
01:11
Ta ta.
01:12
Ta ta.
01:15
When he explores, he uses Mum as a safe face,
01:18
checking back to see if whether it's safe.
01:22
He's beginning to learn what no means.
01:24
He throws down the leaf and looks
01:26
at Mum to check her reaction.
01:30
Looking at a book together, he points
01:32
and follows Mum's point as she names things.
01:39
There's lot of tiny babies, isn't there?
01:42
He looks at Mum to check what she thinks.
01:45
Can you see the teddy?
01:46
Yeah, well done!
01:48
That's a teddy isn't it?
01:49
All these skills are practiced in the context
01:51
of games and everyday activities.
01:54
Bath time and bed time have become
01:56
familiar routines to Orson.
01:58
And he's able now to identify and transfer
02:01
his knowledge, making connections
02:03
with past experiences.
02:05
It's all dry and clean.
02:07
There he's all wet, isn't he?
02:11
Night night baby, have a kiss goodnight with Mommy.
02:16
Bye bye, bye bye, is he going to bed?
02:24
Oh look he's having a nice kiss.
02:28
A kiss with his Mommy.
02:35
Yes, he's brushing his teeth isn't he?
02:38
Shall we get you a toothbrush?
02:39
You can do that.
02:44
Mum still feeds his facial expressions
02:46
and moods back to him.
02:49
Is that a little teeny one like you?
02:55
And the connections he makes, linking
02:57
a particular facial expression
02:59
with a feeling will be getting stronger.
03:00
Not a happy chappy?
03:07
Oh oh oh oh oh...
03:09
By acknowledging and naming Orson's feelings,
03:12
Mum tunes in to him, making him feel
03:15
understood and loved.
03:17
Gradually, this enables his brain to create
03:20
a kind of visual library of facial expressions,
03:23
which are connected to the emotional feelings
03:26
and what they're called.
03:28
He's got big dangly chops.
03:31
Orson is becoming increasingly
03:32
responsive to others' expressions.
03:35
Here they are all happy and laughing.
03:39
Woof woof woof woof.
03:43
Woo woo woo woo.
03:46
Then Seb bangs his face on the guitar.
03:48
Ow.
03:50
You all right darling?
03:52
The mood changes.
03:55
When Orson turns round' to look at Dad,
03:57
he sees his concerned expression and mirrors it.
03:60
Turning to look at Seb much more carefully.
04:06
Watch again as his facial expressions are often fleeting.
04:18
Although his reaction is still much slower than dad's,
04:21
he's starting to be able to adjust
04:23
his behavior to fit the situation.
04:26
This process may help to explain how Orson
04:28
can become influenced by the moods of others'.
04:32
If those around him have a happy face,
04:33
he will feel the same.
04:35
If he sees they're frightened for example,
04:37
this mood with transfer to him.
04:40
This also works the other way round', as people
04:42
are influenced by Orson's expressions.