Three Levels of Intersubjectivity in Early Development

In Antonella Carassa, Francesca Morganti & Giuseppe Riva (eds.), Enacting Intersubjectivity. Paving the way for a dialogue between cognitive science, social cognition and neuroscience. Como: Larioprint. pp. 173-90 (2009)
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The sense of shared values is a specific aspect of human sociality. It originates from reciprocal social exchanges that include imitation, and empathy, but also negotiation from which meanings, values and norms are eventually constructed with others. Research suggests that this process starts from birth via imitation and mirroring processes that are important foundations of sociality providing a basic sense of social connectedness and mutual acknowledgment with others. From the second month, mirroring, imitative and other contagious responses are bypassed. Neonatal imitation gives way to first signs of reciprocation (primary intersubjectivity), and joint attention in reference to objects (secondary intersubjectivity). We review this development and propose a third level of intersubjectivity, that is the emergence of values that are jointly represented and negotiated with others, as well as the development of an ethical stance accompanying emerging theories of mind from about 4 years of age. We propose that tertiary intersubjectivity is an ontogenetically new process of value negotiation and mutual recognition that are the cardinal trademarks of human sociality.



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Claudia Passos-Ferreira
New York University

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The Development of Consciousness.Claudia Passos-Ferreira - 2017 - Dissertation, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Exploring different intersubjective structures in relation to dialogue.Sarah P. Jackson - 2016 - Arts and Humanities in Higher Education:147402221667061.

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