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How The Baby's Mind Develops

In his book on The Development of the Intellect, Mr. H. W. Brown
presents a conspectus of the observations of Prof. Preyer on the mind of
the child which shows chronologically the gradual development of the
senses, intellect and will of the growing child and presents in a
condensed form the result of a great number of careful observations.

It is recorded that sensibility to light, touch, temperature, smell and
taste are present on the first day of infant life. Hearing, therefore,
is the only special sense which is not active at this time. The child
hears by the third or fourth day. Taste and smell are senses at the
first most active, but they are differentiated. General organic
sensations of well being or discomfiture are felt from the first, but
pain and pleasure as mental states are not noted till at or near the
second month.

The first sign of speech in the shape of utterance of consonant sounds
is heard about the end of the second month, these consonants being
generally m, r, g, or t. All the movements of the eyes become
co-ordinate by the fourth month, and by this time the child begins to
have the feeling of self, that is, he looks at his own hands and looks
at himself in the mirror. The study of the child's mind during the first
year shows conclusively that ideas develop and reasoning processes occur
before there is any knowledge of words or of language; though it may be
assumed that the child thinks in symbols, visual or auditory, which are
clumsy equivalents for words. By the end of the year the child begins to
express itself by sounds--that is, speech begins. The development of
this speech capacity is, according to Preyer, in accordance with the
development of the intellectual powers. By the end of the second year
the child's power of speech is practically acquired.

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