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Infant consciousness and the importance of infant mental health

Delafield-Butt, Jonathan (2012) Infant consciousness and the importance of infant mental health. In: Royal Scottish Society of Arts (Science and Technology) 5th Meeting of the 191st Session (2011-2012), 2012-02-13.

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Abstract

Infant research shows us that human consciousness does not rest in single heads, but is shared between two or more minds in two or more bodies. Babies learn through sharing their consciousness — imbued with feelings and intentions — with others, and through others sharing their consciousness with them. This lecture will present behavioural and neurobiological evidence for human 'co-consciousness' and explore the importance of this early connection for learning and development. Social relations in the early years before language and formal teaching are increasingly being recognised as the psychological foundations for learning and development, and this new knowledge has great importance for smart government policy. Hard economic and social policy data will be discussed to emphasise the importance of this sensitive, early adult-infant connection and to suggest ways of supporting it.