In addition to the infant cry being a signal for attention, it may also be a critical component of the early formation of attachments with caregivers. We consider the complex development of that attachment, which involves reciprocal interactive signaling and a host of evolutionarily conserved caregiver factors.
In addition to endogenously produced opiates, which are part of normal affiliative neurocircuitry and attachment formation, exogenous opiates – such as drugs of addiction and abuse – may affect affiliation. We consider possible modulatory effects of such exogenous opiates on the development of early parent–infant attachment from both parents' and infants' perspectives.
The overall goal of this target article is to demonstrate a mechanism for an embodied cognition. The particular vehicle is a much-studied, but still widely debated phenomenon seen in 7–12 month-old-infants. In Piaget's classic “A-not-B error,” infants who have successfully uncovered a toy at location “A” continue to reach to that location even after they watch the toy hidden in a nearby location “B.” Here, we question the traditional explanations of the error as an indicator of infants' concepts of objects (...) or other static mental structures. Instead, we demonstrate that the A-not-B error and its previously puzzling contextual variations can be understood by the coupled dynamics of the ordinary processes of goal-directed actions: looking, planning, reaching, and remembering. We offer a formal dynamic theory and model based on cognitive embodiment that both simulates the known A-not-B effects and offers novel predictions that match new experimental results. The demonstration supports an embodied view by casting the mental events involved in perception, planning, deciding, and remembering in the same analogic dynamic language as that used to describe bodily movement, so that they may be continuously meshed. We maintain that this mesh is a pre-eminently cognitive act of “knowing” not only in infancy but also in everyday activities throughout the life span. Key Words: cognitive development; dynamical systems theory; embodied cognition; infant development; motor control; motor planning; perception and action. (shrink)
This is the only book that examines the theory and data on the development of implicit and explicit memory. It first describes the characteristics of implicit and explicit memory (including conscious recollection) and tasks used with adults to measure them. Next, it reviews the brain mechanisms thought to underlie implicit and explicit memory and the studies with amnesics that initially prompted the search for different neuroanatomically-based memory systems. Two chapters review the Jacksonian (first in, last out) principle and empirical (...) evidence for the hierarchical appearance and dissolution of two memory systems in animal models (rats, nonhuman primates), children, and normal/amnesic adults. Two chapters examine memory tasks used with human infants and evidence of implicit and explicit memory during early infancy. Three final chapters consider structural and processing accounts of adult memory dissociations, their applicability to infant memory dissociations, and implications of infant data for current concepts of implicit and explicit memory. (shrink)
Developmental psychologists identify propensities for social engagement in human infants that are less evident in other apes; Sarah Hrdy links these social propensities to novel features of human childrearing. Unlike other ape mothers, humans can bear a new baby before the previous child is independent because they have help. This help alters maternal trade-offs and so imposes new selection pressures on infants and young children to actively engage their caretakers’ attention and commitment. Such distinctive childrearing is part of our grandmothering (...) life history. While consequences for other cooperative activities must surely follow, the novel rearing environments set up by helpful grandmothering can explain why natural selection escalated preferences and motivations for interactivity in our lineage in the first place, and why, unlike other aspects of infant development, social sensitivities are not delayed in humans compared with genus Pan. (shrink)
Modeling of evolution and development of language has principally utilized mature units of spoken language, phonemes and words, as both targets and inputs. This approach cannot address the earliest phases of development because young infants are unable to produce such language features. We argue that units of early vocal development—protophones and their primitive illocutionary/perlocutionary forces—should be targeted in evolutionary modeling because they suggest likely units of hominin vocalization/communication shortly after the split from the chimpanzee/bonobo lineage, and because (...) early development of spontaneous vocal capability is a logically necessary step toward vocal language, a root capability without which other crucial steps toward vocal language capability are impossible. Modeling of language evolution/development must account for dynamic change in early communicative units of form/function across time. We argue for interactive contributions of sender/infants and receiver/caregivers in a feedback loop involving both development and evolution and propose to begin computational modeling at the hominin break from the primate communicative background. (shrink)
In this paper, I show how theoretical discussion of recent research on the abilities of infants and young children to represent other agents’ beliefs has been shaped by a descriptivist conception of mental content, i.e., to the notion that the distal content of a mental representation is fixed by the core body of knowledge that is associated with that mental representation. I also show how alternative conceptions of mental content—and in particular Ruth Millikan’s teleosemantic approach—make it possible to endorse the (...) view that infants have the ability to track beliefs by as early as 6 months while failing to understand some of the ways in which beliefs combine with each other and with other mental states in contributing to inferences and actions. In articulating this view, I will draw upon Millikan’s recently developed notion of ‘unicepts’. Unicepts, according to Millikan, are the basic representational vehicles that underpin our abilities to identify objects, properties, relations and kinds. When applied to research on mindreading in infancy and early childhood, Millikan’s approach generates fruitful new questions about the development of belief reasoning, and about the functions of belief reasoning in infancy and at different stages of childhood. (shrink)
Infants' own activities create and actively select their learning experiences. Here we review recent models of embodied information seeking and curiosity-driven learning and show that these mechanisms have deep implications for development and evolution. We discuss how these mechanisms yield self-organized epigenesis with emergent ordered behavioral and cognitive developmental stages. We describe a robotic experiment that explored the hypothesis that progress in learning, in and for itself, generates intrinsic rewards: The robot learners probabilistically selected experiences according to their potential (...) for reducing uncertainty. In these experiments, curiosity-driven learning led the robot learner to successively discover object affordances and vocal interaction with its peers. We explain how a learning curriculum adapted to the current constraints of the learning system automatically formed, constraining learning and shaping the developmental trajectory. The observed trajectories in the robot experiment share many properties with those in infant development, including a mixture of regularities and diversities in the developmental patterns. Finally, we argue that such emergent developmental structures can guide and constrain evolution, in particular with regard to the origins of language. (shrink)