L25M14 - Lecture 25 Developmental aspects of how we know...

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Lecture 25 (14/03/11) Developmental aspects of how we know the world around us - Starting with neonates (babies) and see how they insert themselves into the world and how they make sense of it - There are a number of thresholds – one of them is the time btw birth and the acquisition of language since - Starting point of infants is something we can label naïve egocentrism – first the children don’t have an idea that there is anything else than them o It’s something which must be learned through experience - By the time kids beginning to speak they realize there are many other things out there besides themselves - From a cognitive viewpoint (of knowledge) what do babies already have when they’re born? o Practical abilities – all variants of the same thing – they pay attention to the world around them o Babies track moving objects from the beginning o Same thing happens with grabbing o Suckling - Babies have active memories from the beginning (can remember a few things at a time starting out) - This is all that’s needed – with this set of orientations to the world the infant can start learning things - Bird example o There are some species of birds where the adult bird has a white beak with a black spot. As soon as babies have hatched and can move, when the adult is around they peck at the black spot and in response the mother regurgitates food for the chick. o Classical explanation for this is that there’s a mechanism by which the chick recognizes the spot as the food dispensing button - In the same way some theoreticians say that babies are born with a face module – this module is why they start paying attention to other humans - However, looking at this hypothesis the only way this could be validated is by saying there are genes which correspond to this – but there is no evidence whatsoever of this -
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