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 
task".

See:

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' 
phrase).

-Stephen

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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
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J1M 1Z7                                                                 
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