Baby's Cognitive Development Summarized

What are the babies' representations and rules like?

First, the babies' representations are rich and complex. As we've seen, they include ideas about how their face resembles the faces of others, how objects move, and how the sounds of a language are divided. The young babies' world is not simple. Babies translate the input at their eyes and ears into a world full of people with animated, expressive faces and captivating. intricate, rhythmic voices. It's also a world full of objects with complex multidimensional structure that move in a dizzying variety of ways.

Babies' representations are also abstract. They go beyond the data of immediate sensation. Most obviously these early representations link information from different senses: they link the way the tongue feels and the way it looks, the bounce of a ball and the boing sound it makes, the look of an open mouth and the sound of an aah.

But the representations go beyond sensation in other, more profound ways. They turn facial expressions into emotions. They convert two-dimensional images into three-dimensional objects. They take a continuous stream of noise and divide it up into discrete speech sounds. Even newborn babies end up with representations that are radically different from the input at their eyes and ears. The babies' world isn't concrete any more than it's simple. Babies already see the soul beneath the skin and hear the feeling behind the words.

These representations and rules lead young babies to interpret what happens to them in particular ways—to pay attention to some things and ignore others. At first they are particularly captivated by faces and voices; within a few days they pay special attention to familiar faces and voices. At first they pay special attention to the way things move and less attention to their shape or color or texture; later they will start to pay more attention to these properties of objects. At first and not others; later they will no longer attend to sound changes that once intrigued them.

Finally, the babies' representations and rules allow babies to form expectations, and even to make predictions, about new things that will happen in the future. When the babies' program gets information about a current event, it can generate a representation of a future event. When young babies see a toy car go behind the screen, they look ahead to the far edge babies flirt, they expect that their coos will be answered by adult goos. When they see an open mouth, they expect that they will hear an aah sound. They react in characteristic ways when their predictions turn out to be wrong and their expectations are dashed. They show conflict when the toy car doesn't appear to behave as it should, and they are distressed when their flirtatious advances are met with an impassive stony face. Just as the babies' world isn't simple or concrete, it also isn't limited to the here and now. Even very young babies can remember what happened in the past and predict what will happen in the future.

The significance of this inborn program goes beyond just the simple fact that there is a lot there to begin with. The baffling problem for philosophers and psychologists was always how we get from the raw, undigested matter of sensation—the "blooming, buzzing confusion"—to an understanding of the world. How do we even know which kinds of sensations to pay attention to? The answer the babies give is that we are never dealing with raw matter. There never is a blooming, buzzing confusion. From the very beginning we can understand the world, pick and choose what's important. know what to expect. From the time we're born, we run a program that translates the light and sound waves into people, objects, and language.


The sequence of events in a child's development indicates that it's not all learned, there is a programming in the brain that follows a natural course, ready for the world.

Folksonomies: development language blank slate nature vs nurture

/family and parenting/babies and toddlers (0.824621)
/health and fitness/disorders (0.251361)
/health and fitness/disease/headaches and migraines (0.237332)

babies (0.978944 (negative:-0.207298)), young babies (0.803209 (negative:-0.573286)), edge babies flirt (0.696165 (positive:0.443046)), representations (0.665703 (positive:0.058748)), newborn babies (0.627897 (positive:0.456910)), ways—to pay attention (0.604604 (negative:-0.573286)), Cognitive Development Summarized (0.603406 (negative:-0.211889)), open mouth (0.597889 (positive:0.461638)), complex multidimensional structure (0.588371 (positive:0.898378)), toy car (0.584128 (negative:-0.554551)), special attention (0.580150 (positive:0.478429)), world (0.576984 (positive:0.177849)), impassive stony face (0.562602 (negative:-0.362255)), early representations (0.550539 (negative:-0.208656)), objects (0.514419 (positive:0.281391)), natural course (0.514003 (positive:0.373984)), expressive faces (0.510835 (positive:0.618323)), dizzying variety (0.510064 (positive:0.898378)), immediate sensation (0.508585 (negative:-0.391817)), aah sound (0.505435 (positive:0.338192)), rhythmic voices (0.504773 (neutral:0.000000)), two-dimensional images (0.503992 (negative:-0.271019)), familiar faces (0.503258 (neutral:0.000000)), profound ways (0.500714 (neutral:0.000000)), facial expressions (0.500590 (negative:-0.271961)), three-dimensional objects (0.500272 (negative:-0.271019)), adult goos (0.500024 (neutral:0.000000)), different senses (0.499813 (negative:-0.208656)), discrete speech (0.499588 (negative:-0.600281)), flirtatious advances (0.497130 (negative:-0.362255))

Cognitive Development:PrintMedia (0.731890 (negative:-0.211889))

Sound (0.964063): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Infant (0.813086): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Dimension (0.735190): dbpedia | freebase
Future (0.733171): dbpedia | freebase
Translation (0.607550): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Sense (0.600147): dbpedia | freebase
Rod Stewart (0.598793): website | dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago | musicBrainz
Pregnancy (0.598534): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Gopnik , Meltzoff , Kuhl (2001-01-01), The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind, Harper Paperbacks, Retrieved on 2011-07-06
Folksonomies: education parenting pregnancy babies children infancy


01 JAN 2010

 Baby Care Memes

A collection of memes to help me keep track of what behaviors to emulate and avoid during and after pregnancy.