Ross A Thompson Published 2008 Psychology Try to imagine the challenge faced by a young infant who is carefully watching the behavior of the interesting people around her.

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Ross A Thompson Published 2008 Psychology Try to imagine the challenge faced by a young infant who is carefully watching the behavior of the interesting people around her. What these people do is fascinating, important, and mysterious. One of the earliest things she learns is that people are different from other things in the world: They act on their own initiative, communicate, and most importantly, respond to her. But why people have these characteristics (in contrast with her stuffed bear) and why they act as they do become preoccupations of the infant. In a sense, babies are fascinated by the task of reading the minds that underlie the behavior of people—or in another sense, they are acting like young psychologists. They begin this task early. Newborns enter the world with brains that are ready to absorb information and that have inborn preferences for the sight of human faces and the sound of human voices, and this makes them responsive to social stimulation (Mondloch et al., 1999). For example, newborns imitate adult facial expressions (Meltzoff & Moore, 1977) and are reinforced by the sound of a familiar voice, even though they are not yet ready for social interaction. To some developmental scientists, they are already exhibiting a simple awareness that other people are “like me” (Meltzoff, 2007). By 2 to 3 months, infants are awake for longer periods and are more alert, and this affords opportunities for face-to-face interaction with an adult. In these social contexts, infants exchange with their caregivers animated facial expressions, vocalizations, gestures, mutual gazing, and other behaviors and, at the same time, are learning some of the skills of social interaction: reciprocal turn-taking, mutuality in gazing and affect, and attending and then responding (Fogel, 1993). Although these episodes of early face-to-face interaction are often described as a well-choreographed minuet, the reality for most parents is that they are more like a beginning dance class with missed cues and stepped-on toes. Developmental scientists have also recognized that well-synchronized interaction occurs less than a third of the time in face-to-face play, with the remaining time in uncoordinated interaction because infants become fussy, adults are distracted, or for other reasons (Tronick, 1989). Yet early social skills and understanding are also built from mistimed or nonsynchronous interactions as infants learn what they can do to repair interactive activity and put it back on track (Gianino & Tronick, 1988). In early social play, therefore, infants are faced with a more complex activity than merely responding to sensitively scaffolded social interaction. They are also learning that social interaction is dynamic and changing and are acquiring the skills to co-manage its course. What do Newborns Think? For this assignment, you’ll practice evaluating scholarly research. Compare the textbook information about Piaget’s primary circular reactions with ideas about 0-4 month-olds in this excerpt, above, from the article The Psychologist in the Baby. 1. How are Piaget’s ideas, differentfrom the ideas in The Psychologist in the Baby? 2. How are Piaget’s ideas similarto the ideas in The Psychologist in the Baby?Preview Solution


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