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fetal people

Stephen Black sblack at UBISHOPS.CA
Tue Feb 18 11:56:12 EST 1997

On 18 Feb 1997, Daniel Pouzzner wrote:

> The type of maturation that occurs in the human brain in the first
> nine months post-natal is of the same variety that is occuring late
> pre-natal in other parts of the human. Humans develop locomotion and
> social signalling (language) post-natal. Their visual system, though
> fed with an essentially mature data stream from the eyes, is incapable
> at birth of sifting through the jumble of visual data except for the
> crudest identification tasks. <snip>

Disagree. There's evidence that the neonate is capable of recognizing a 
schematic representation of the human face as opposed to one with its 
features scrambled. I'd say that's more than the "crudest identification 


Goren, C. et al (1975). Visual following and pattern discrimination of
  face-like stimuli by newborn infants. Pediatrics, 56, 544-549

Johnson, M. et al (1991). Newborns' preferential tracking of face-like
  stimuli and its subsequent decline. Cognition, 40, 1-19.

The point is that newborns are capable of more than we once thought. The 
world isn't just a "blooiming, buzzing confusion" at birth (William James' 


Stephen Black, Ph.D.                      tel: (819) 822-9600 ext 2470
Department of Psychology                  fax: (819) 822-9661
Bishop's University                    e-mail: sblack at ubishops.ca
Lennoxville, Quebec               
J1M 1Z7                                                                 

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