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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