Summary: Infancy

Newborns arrive with built-in reflexes that aid their survival. These include the gag reflex, sucking reflex, rooting reflex, and grasp reflex. Touch is important to babies. A massage every day helps premature infants grow.

People naturally communicate with newborns by moving in synchronization with them. Newborns are also sensitive to the odor and sounds of the mother. Newborns differ in irritability as soon as they are born, with SGA (small for gestation age) babies posing special difficulties. These babies typically recover after the first year.

Newborns have all sorts of cognitive capabilities unsuspected a few decades ago. They can point with their fingers. Some can apparently keep track of numbers and moving objects, in special experiments that are arranged to test these abilities without requiring the baby to do anything more complex than move its eyes or suck on a pacifier. These are "implicit" cognitive abilities that require no speech and no conscious control of mental processes.


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Copyright © 2007 Russ Dewey