chapter  2
16 Pages

Reflections on Regression Periods in the Development of Catalan Infants

This chapter is part of a wider research project focused on the study and analysis of mechanisms and processes underlying sociocognitive development in the first 3 years of life. Children continually evolve and develop in a process that at first would appear to be gradual. Observation of any capacity or ability would, hopefully, find a continuous and increasing developmental curve. Traditionally, the processes of development have been viewed as a succession of structural and functionallevels that assurne a homogenous basis underlying the manifest heterogeneity. In this sense, development is both continuous and discrete, characterized by a constant addition of new dimensions belonging to the same organizational structure. One example is the growth of vocabulary from the second year onward. However, development is also characterized by dramatic transitions affecting wide behavioral dimensions. In accordance with Werner, transitions can be defined by the emergence of behavioral forms that are not reducible to extant forms, as well as by the absence of intermediary forms. In the case of language, following from the previous example, the step from gestural communication to word use can be seen as a qualitative change. In other words, the transition represents a discontinuous, qualitative leap in the organization and manifestation of a child's abilities and competencies.