Assuming little or no prior knowledge of the subject, Infancy presents a complete picture of our current understanding of the development of infants, their knowledge and understanding of the world from birth or before to their second birthday. In dealing in turn with motor development, the development of perception and cognition, and social development, the book follows a conventional pattern. At the same time, the author points to the ways in which the distinctions between perceptual, cognitive and social development are to an extent arbitrary and how they stand in the way of evolving an adequate account of infancy. A number of competing theoretical approaches emerge, and the author presents a framework that aims to capture the best elements of these apparently diverse approaches.
This new edition has been considerably expanded and contains discussion of over 260 further studies. Major additions include new sections on self concept theory and theory of mind, on reaching and grasping, on dynamic systems theory, as well as new material on cognitive precursors of language and object knowledge in early infancy.
Preface to the first edition.
Infancy as a field of study.
Methods of studying infancy.
The structure of the book.
2. Physical and Motor Development Before and After Birth.
Developmental before birth.
Birth and Beyond.
Links with later chapters.
3. Perceptual Development.
Visual perception of two dimensional stimuli.
Visual perception in three dimensions.
Mechanisms underlying early perception.
4. Cognitive Development: Piaget and Infancy.
Piaget′s sensori–motor theory.
The construction of space and object concepts.
Recent studies of infants′ knowledge of objects.
Spatial orientation in infancy.
Cognitive precursors of language.
Conclusion: relations between perception and cognition.
5. Social Development.
Knowledge of self and others and the roots of a theory of mind.
Attachment: the first relationship.
Early communication: parent–infant interaction.
Parent–Infant interaction as a development process.
The Beginnings of language.
6. Research Theory and Images of Infancy.
Conceptualizing development: direct perception and constructed understanding.