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fetal people

Daniel Pouzzner douzzer.mit.edu
Sat Feb 22 15:17:11 EST 1997

sblack at UBISHOPS.CA:
>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 was aware of that; alas I was less than careful in two posts I made
several days ago on this issue. Has the theory that infant eye darting
is performed so that modules of striate cortex can properly configure
themselves with respect to one another been discounted? Surely not,
since experiments on higher primates have demonstrated that simple,
non-surgical abolition of visual input starting at birth results in
dysfunctional visual cortex.

Nonetheless, I think to really explain the difference between a
newborn human and a 9 month old human, I have to bite the bullet and
address the maturation of the high-level motivational, goal, planning,
and schematic dissection/modelling infrastructure: specifically,
prefrontal, associative parietal, and caudate/putamen. Those discrete
Piagetian (I think it was Piaget anyway; it's been years since I took
developmental psych) stages an infant steps through are first and
foremost reflections of dramatic changes in these regions.  Needless
to say, dramatic tranformations in these areas don't stop at 9 months,
they happen throughout life, including well after attainment of sexual
maturity.  Amygdalar phenomena, such as falling in love, can grossly
restructure the frontostriate relationship at any age starting with
sexual maturity. Mid-life crises can similarly send it spinning.


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