By Maria Legerstee

Drawing on a huge variety of analysis and developmental conception and targeting babies in the course of their first yr of lifestyles, Maria Legerstee asserts that they've an innate experience of individuals at start, that's activated via sympathetic feelings. She questions the concept babies use actual parameters reminiscent of contingencies or movement to differentiate humans from items, and rejects the idea that babies are mechanical creatures sooner than they develop into mental ones. She argues persuasively that earlier than babies learn how to converse, interactions with others are attainable simply because babies have a primitive pre-linguistic 'theory of mind'.

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Additional info for Infants' Sense of People: Precursors to a Theory of Mind

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To those who take the discontinuous view, these triadic abilities index for the first time an awareness of intentions in others. Infants begin to perceive people as intentional agents whose perspectives may differ from their own (Tomasello, 1995). However, theorists who argue for a continuation of inferential processes argue that the triadic period indicates the beginning of a more complex awareness of mental states in others, one involving objects. g. g. g. , 1987; Bakeman and Adamson, 1984). I will describe in chapter 6 how, by 5 months, infants for the first time bring things outside the dyad to the attention of the interlocuteur in order to make these events a topic of conversation.

If one posits that infants perceive the self as an independent and social agent, what is the process by which they acquire information about people that will lead to an understanding of more complex mental states and the development of a Theory of Mind (Bruner, 1999; Hobson, 1993)? In chapter 5, I will discuss this question. Earlier on I argued that dyadic interactions allowed infants a glimpse into others’ minds through sharing of emotions. Hobson (1990) suggests that infants are biologically endowed with the ability for nonverbal interaction, which allows them to perceive ‘‘other minds’’ through social exchanges.

Schaffer (1971) said almost a quarter of a century ago, ‘‘from birth, the infant is equipped with a species-specific cognitive structure which ensures that he is selectively attuned to certain types of environmental stimuli’’ (p. 37). In later writings, Schaffer speaks of the infants’ ‘‘social pre-adaptation, when referring to predispositions to selectively attend to particular kinds of stimuli and to structure its responses in particular ways’’ (p. 192). He also proposed that . . ‘‘on the auditory as on the 36 Infants’ Sense of People visual side, infants arrive in the world especially attuned to stimulation provided by other people’’ (p.

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