Social Developments

From the start, these sophisticated speech perceptual abilities are closely tied to the infant's social experience. Studies of newborns have shown that they distinguish their own mothers' voices from those of other mothers, which is most likely related to prenatal exposure to the acoustic properties of the mothers' speech. In the visual domain, newborns also show a preference for human faces and can even imitate facial expressions. Thus, from the beginning, the social niche for language is clearly established.

During the first few months of life, rapid changes take place. Mothers and their infants begin to interact in a finely tuned way with one another. They synchronize their patterns of eye gaze, movements, and facial expressions of affect in ways that resemble turn-taking patterns in conversations. By the age of 4 months, there is a marked increase in vocal turn-taking during these rich interactions between infants and their caretakers. Toward the end of the first year of life, vocalizations as well as other nonvocal behaviors again become genuinely integrated into social interaction as infants' developing social cognitive capacities lead to the onset of intentional communication. At this point, infants becomes capable of coordinating their attention to objects or events with other people through eye gaze patterns (joint attention), gestures, and vocalizations. This developmental achievement is generally viewed as a critical step in language acquisition, with the onset ofcommunicative intent. Infants at this stage are able to communicate a variety of meanings, including protodeclaratives, which involve pointing or other gestures to draw another person's attention to an object of interest, and protoimpera-tives, meaning a gesture or vocalization to express a request or demand for an object. The significance of these communicative attempts is that they suggest the infant is capable of understanding the intentions of others (the beginning of a theory of mind), at least in a rudimentary or implicit form.

Breaking Bulimia

Breaking Bulimia

We have all been there: turning to the refrigerator if feeling lonely or bored or indulging in seconds or thirds if strained. But if you suffer from bulimia, the from time to time urge to overeat is more like an obsession.

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