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PSYC 3520 (9)
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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

8 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 3520
Professor
all

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Chapter 2 Endogenous and exogenous influences in development Human beings acquire information both from biology and culture in the acquisition of various social cognitive milestones Just like other animals humans have innate predispositions that not only contain the blueprint for physical maturation but unlike many animal species human infants have domains that contain sets of representations that sustain a specific area of knowledge such as language number and physicsbut also sociality I like to argue that the development of an awareness of the mental states of others requires considerable social interaction in order to develop into the complex capacity that it is However not all environmental and social interactions are beneficial or important for ToM development Therefore the specific social domain contains knowledge of people but also domain specific constraints that propel infants to focus on input that is specific to people and their mental states Thus the endogenous processes or predispositions facilitate engagement in prelinguistic dyadic communication During these interactions infants share emotions and imitate the expressions of people thereby enhancing mutual awareness and promoting identification with social partners The endogenous processes allow infants to adapt to and to learn from the external environment to optimize and also to recognize exogenous factors that are especially important for ToM development Exogenous factors interact with the endogenous factors and play a formative role in the development of an understanding of the mental states of people The endogenous and exogenous processes also propel infants into the subsequent triadic state where infants begin to communicate with conspecifics about objects and interesting events During the triadic state infants show and request objects they point out interesting events in the environment with gestures and vocalizations and they show that they are aware when others reference want or desire objects Infants have endogenous factors that give them a head start in the developmental process and prepare them to take advantage of speciesspecific exogenous factorsEndogenous factors like me Infants innate abilities to recognize that they are similar to other people that they are of the same species as humans and different from other animals and physical objects are important factors in the development of a Theory of Mind Rather than just being shaped and reinforced for producing closer approximations of adult behaviors infants are innately programmed to identify with conspecifics and to interact with them Through such social interactions infants understanding of other minds becomes consolidatedPreference for human stimuli From birth infants actively use their visual and auditory systems to acquire information about their surroundings and themselves Infants are visually attracted to movement contour contrast certain levels of complexity and curvature Using preferential looking paradigms of twodimensional stimuli researchers have shown that by 2 months infants discriminate between the faces of mothers and female strangers Barrera and Maurer 1981 and by 4 months they distinguish among the faces of a man woman and a baby Fagan 1972 The results suggest that rather than having to construct a notion of a human face out of the various physical parameters mentioned above infants may be born with some kind of template for faceness eg primal specification of some structural characteristics of the human face called CONSPEC Newborns spend more time looking at their mothers faces than at strangers faces This demonstrates that they are able to recognize their mothers faces as familiar and suggest that this activity cannot be regulated by sensory information alone it must also involve information stored in memorythat is some of this information is represented by infants Auditory perception also appears to be well developed in newborns Unlike the visual system the auditory system is stimulated in uteroPreferential sucking paradigms have shown that newborns attend preferentially to human speech over other sounds At one month they make fine distinctions among speech sounds and discriminate between linguistic
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