First Impressions: a virtual experience of the first year of life

Using state-of-the-art VR technology, First Impressions enables viewers to explore how a baby sees the world during the first six months of life.

Drawing on the latest academic research, viewers can relive the dramatic visual development that happens over this time. At first only muted colours are visible, then as the experience unfolds the world is coloured in - first reds and greens, then yellows and blues. Depth of focus increases, slowly the room becomes 3D and parents, other children, objects and even the family dog come into focus.

The piece also examines the importance of social interaction and the negative impact that child neglect can have on neural development during this crucial period. The voice of Charles Nelson PhD, professor of pediatrics at Harvard, guides viewers through First Impressions, explaining the impact on brain development, behaviour and social functioning in children if they are deprived of responsive care and social interaction during this formative time.