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Dissanayake, Ellen. Becoming Homo Aestheticus: Sources of Aesthetic Imagination in Mother-Infant Interactions
2001, Substance 30 (1/2):85.
Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Introduction: Along with the vital abilities to cry and to suckle, human neonates are born with remarkable capacities that predispose them for social interaction with others. For example, newborns prefer human faces and human voices to any other sight or sound (Johnson et al. 1991, 11). They can imitate face, mouth, and hand movements and respond appropriately to another person’s emotional expressions of sadness, fear, and surprise. It is perhaps less well known that at birth, infants can also estimate and anticipate intervals of time and temporal sequences (DeCasper and Carstens 1980). They can remember these temporal patterns and categorize them in both time and space, and in terms of affect and arousal (Beebe, Lachman and Jaffe 1997). By six weeks of age, these innate perceptual and cognitive abilities permit normal infants to engage in complex communicative interchanges with adult partners–the playful behavior that is commonly or colloquially called “babytalk.”

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