Monday, February 1, 2010

Infants, Causation & Light Switches

So, a while back I read the Philosopher Baby book (or something like that).  I've also read (and assigned for class)Tomasello's The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition in which Tomasello spends a great deal of time discussing human intellectual development.  Now as I read Johnson's Meaning of the Body I'm getting more stuff on infant 'meaning-making.'  Clearly, I do have coherent beliefs, I'm just completely unaware of the coherence.


Reading about the fact that infants need to learn about causation, I was reminded of something that I don't want to forget that has to do with infants and causation.  The young child in my life, let's just use YC to preserve anonymity, was sick, clearly feeling like crap.  She, however, did not know why she was feeling like crap.  So, being the good little scientist all of us are, she set about making any adult who was holding her, flip every switch, pushe every lever, do everything she could think of.  It was pretty clear to me that she was trying to figure out how to make the crappiness stop.  She just turned 1 and probably doesn't have a very good sense of what sorts of causal relationships make sense and which don't.  It just made sense to her that in the past she'd been able to alter her experience in the world by light switches being flipped, stereos being turned on or off, etc.  It just stood to reason that alter her crappy-feeling experience should have been able to be altered by some sort of switch being flipped as well.

Cool, eh?

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