Psychological Development Across the Lifespan


What does a neonate know?

There is no question that neonates, or newborns, are born without much of the vast psychological tools that adults have at their disposal. In contrast to an older view of infants as helpless, passive blobs, however, a wealth of infancy research has highlighted the skills that newborn infants bring into the world. For the most part, these skills have to do with their sensory abilities. As this research shows, infants are born with a sensory toolkit that allows them to actively make sense of their world as soon as they are born—and to some extent even before birth.

Infants have specific visual abilities that help them recognize and relate to their parents. They prefer curved lines and human faces over random features (iStock).

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