chapter  2.2
10 Pages

Socioemotional development

BySandra Smidt

This chapter examines how, during the first year of life, the infant not only develops a sense of self and others as agents with intentions and awareness, but also a sensitivity for complex emotions her own and those of others. Trevarthen offers the case of a six-month-old baby performing the actions of a known song to receive praise and applause with pride, and the same infant responding with confusion and anxiety to a stranger who does not respond to the child's performance. People who are blind pick up cues about how others are feeling from touch or the sounds of their movements or from the change of direction and expression in the human voice. So a blind child will compensate using her other senses. Human hands, too, are uniquely adapted in their shape and mobility so that they are able to indicate intentions and feelings in delicate ways from birth.