Infants' Sense of People: Precursors to a Theory of Mind by Maria Legerstee

By Maria Legerstee

Drawing on a vast diversity of study and developmental conception and concentrating on babies in the course of their first 12 months of existence, 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 equivalent to contingencies or movement to differentiate humans from gadgets, and rejects the belief that babies are mechanical creatures prior to they develop into mental ones. She argues persuasively that sooner 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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The proposition that infants have intra- and interpersonal inferences would offer an alternative explanation of the autistic inability to share emotions. It could be argued that, instead of having a missing module, autistic individuals have difficulty performing interpersonal inferences due to the fact that they are self-biased. g. ‘‘if I smile, I feel happy; if you smile, you might be happy as well’’) is not always 2 Ibid. 34 Infants’ Sense of People appreciated by others. g. an understanding that people have internal states, can have intentions), which he feels does not happen until around 9–12 months of life.

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. 193). Emde (1989) agrees that ‘‘the infant comes to the world with a biological preparedness for participating in social interaction’’ (p.

I will examine in detail the social interactionist view introduced in chapter 1, that an understanding of people and their mental states is deeply influenced by the interactions infants have with social partners. I will examine the mechanism these theorists put forth in the development of the infant’s understanding of people. g. psycho-analytic theory, attachment theory). I will also focus on what caretakers do to enhance their infants’ understanding of the social world. Concepts such as mutual attunement and affect mirroring will be discussed and empirical data to highlight their effectiveness will be presented.

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