Psychological Development Across the Lifespan


What do we know about the subjective experience of the infant?

Daniel Stern is an infancy researcher who has written several influential books on infant psychology. In 1985 he published a book titled The Interpersonal World of the Infant, in which he asked the fascinating question: What is it like to be a baby? He was not only interested in what an infant can and cannot do, but what it feels like to experience the world from the infant’s perspective. Stern concluded that, to the infant, the world was less like a smooth movie than a series of largely unrelated snapshots. The infant is first aware of the patterning of stimulation, the musical arrangement of sight, sounds, smells, and touch. With time, these patterns of stimulation consolidate into objects, and the objects settle into predictable routines. From this process, children develop an understanding of themselves in the world and of their relationship with other people.


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