Are babies prewired for survival? This is a question that has been researched and debated in the psychological world for decades. Standing on the side of nature in the ever going battle of nature vs. nurture, we will discover that babies possess cognitive skill, biological abilities, and physical characteristics that not only allow them to live but to survive in the world as we know it. Answering such questions as: Are newborns able to swim and why do newborns smile back at their parents or react to their mothers’ voice? Babies are born with exactly what it takes to live and communicate their various needs. Beginning with cognitive skill, babies have an innate ability to not only make facial expressions of their desires but also their needs of sustenance. But how is this possible? Using the study of Infant Intersubjectivity, researchers have discovered that “the infants need for communication animates the initial ‘self-other’ awareness and reception of motives and emotions in the intersubjective messages that underlie all languages.” “Human sense” as (Donaldson 1978) called it (Infant Intersubjectivity: Research, Theory, and Clinical Applications.
Colwyn Trevarthen and Kenneth J. Aitken. Article first published online: 7 OCT 2003). Just by watching infants and newborns one can easily see the way these miniature people communicate. By observing the different tones in a cry, the facial expressions changes and or the rhythmic movements used to ask for or repel contact; these are all profound forms of infant communication. When I personally think of this form of communication the term body language come to mind. We are observing and essentially talking to infants through an intrinsic form of body language and the babes self-other awareness. Next, when thinking about the idea of self-other awareness in infants we only need to examine a few things.
When you smile at a baby and they smile back, or even when you play peek-a-boo with an infant to watch their face light up with excitement. How about even when the baby gets tired of playing and their expression becomes somber and they eventually cry or become very agitated. These are all examples of self-other awareness. “…long before birth, along with essential peripheral organs of perception and motor expression that will serve in communication by rhythmic facial, vocal, gestural, and body movement signal” (http://www.journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid =43493&fileId=S0954579497001387. Development and Psychopathology. volume / Issue 04 / December 1997, pp 653-677. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ (About DOI), Published online: 08 September 2000).
Effectively, the stages of infant cognitive development can be viewed and explained simply. According to Piaget there are four stages of cognitive development that range from the ages of birth through adulthood. Today we will only focus on two of these stages as they pertain to the ages of birth through the ages of 24 months or two years old. The first stage is the sensorimotor stage which includes and defines the ages from birth to about 18 months of age. This stage is quickly described and defined by the infant only being aware of what’s immediately in front of them, and only interacting with those people, objects or sounds (http://www.webmd.com/children/piaget-stages-of-development Piaget Stages of Development. ©2005-2015 WebMD, LLC).
Looking at Piaget’s studies even at the earliest moments of life an infant utilizes the power of their brains in the forms of basic awareness’s and communication attempts. The second stage of cognitive development is also important to our question of babies being able to survive. Before babies can reach the age of 24 months of age they begin to undergo the second stage known as pre-operational. During this stage the baby has already found object permanence and begins symbolic thought, memory and imagination (Piaget Stages of Development. ©2005-2015 WebMD, LLC). They also begin to form basic verbal language which may vary according to their environmental factors and parental languages
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1469-7610.00701/abstract;jsessionid=F5BDCE7E9FE5CCB25A2E9FBF4755177E.f03t03 Infant Intersubjectivity: Research, Theory, and Clinical Applications. Colwyn Trevarthen and Kenneth J. Aitken. Article first published online: 7 OCT 2003 http://www.webmd.com/children/piaget-stages-of-development Piaget Stages of Development. ©2005-2015 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661303001918 On being the object of attention: implications for self–other consciousness. Vasudevi Reddy. TRENDS ON COGNITIVE SCIENCES .Volume 7, Issue 9, September 2003,