PMID: 6826671Jan 1, 1983Paper

The development of early non-verbal communication: an evaluation of its meaning

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines
B Hopkins


Communication and social preadaptation have interpretative problems in early interaction. Both have strong teleological commitment and are not therefore wholly appropriate. The mother-infant system gradually achieves the hallmark of true teleology largely because the mother acts as if the newborn's foetal-like behaviour had communicative significance. Viewing newborn behaviour as such is compatible with the biological principle of preadaptation which avoids vague assumptions about early behaviour being socially 'prewired'. It is recommended that the mother be given an observer's role as it may lead to a useful methodology for understanding early communication. Studying deviancy in early relationships is also considered.


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