First Impressions

Virtual Reality

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

Made by the Guardian’s in-house VR studio, First Impressions places you in the position of a newborn, experiencing the first six months of life. Working with leading researchers and academics in the field, the piece explores the dramatic visual development you go through in the first six months of life. At first, everything is blurred. Colours are muted. Reds and greens appear first, then blues and yellows. 

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.

First Impressions has much to commend it for anyone interested in infant development. The ability to explore the world through the eyes of a baby offers an unprecedented opportunity to really understand how they see and experience the world.

– Charles Nelson PhD, professor of pediatrics at Harvard


Francesca Panetta was Co-Director of First Impressions and Executive Editor of the Guardian’s in-house Virtual Reality studio.