The brain of an infant undergoes various changes after birth. In particular, one can mention that at the beginning, it weighs approximately 400 grams; however, it can grow by more than 200 percent within the next 12 months (Ashford, 2012, p. 80). At this stage, the connections between neurons are very weak, and they are not sufficient for complex cognitive activities.
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This is why during infancy a newborn baby can only rely on inherited reflexes such as sucking or grasping (Ashford, 2012, p. 80). At this stage, only brain stem, spinal cord and diencephalon are well-developed while upper part of the brain only begins to grow. For instance, one can speak about such a region of the brain as cerebellum which is involved in such mental processes as attention or language.
The capacity to process language is associated with the development of the cerebral cortex (Huttenlocher, 2009, p. 175).There has be to be a sufficient number of synaptic contacts so that an infant could start to acquire linguistic skills (Huttenlocher, 2009, p. 175). Overall, the linguistic growth starts during the period between 12 and 24 months.
It should be mentioned that the exposure to language is crucial for the linguistic growth of a child. If an infant cannot hear human language during this period, his/her linguistic capacity can be impaired. One should take into account that the relationship between brain maturation and linguistic growth still attracts the attention of many researchers. These are the main aspect that be identified.
One should also examine how a newborn baby perceives the world. At first, it is necessary to focus on the sensations of newborn children. They have to adjust to breathing and nutrition without the umbilical cord. One should bear in mind that their vision is not very strong.
At the age of two weeks, infants can look at the objects which are located at different distances from them (Daw, 2006, p. 32). Nevertheless, an infant prefers to look at the objects which are directly in front of his/her face. This is one of the issues that should be considered.
One should also mention that a newborn child only act as explores by relying on their inherited reflexes such as grasping and sucking (Galotti, 2000, p. 503). They want to discover the properties of various objects that surround them. At the beginning, infants learn the so-called schemes or sets of actions. For instance, they learn to play with various toys.
Provided that a child finds that some kind of action brings him/her pleasure, this activity is more likely to be repeated. This mechanism is critical for the formation of a child’s behavior. During infancy, children do not have any mental representations of people or objects (Galotti, 2000, p. 503).
Therefore, their acquisition of knowledge is based on sensation and action. More complex mental processes emerge along the maturation of the brain.
On the whole, one can say that a newborn baby passes through a period when the world is totally unfamiliar. Much attention should be paid to people and material objects that constitute immediate environment of an infant. A newborn baby does not have background knowledge about them, and they are willing to act as experimenters or explorers. This is one of the main aspects that can be identified.
Ashford, J. (2012).Brooks/Cole Empowerment Series: Human Behavior in the Social Environment. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Daw, N. (2006). Visual Development. New York, NY: Springer.
Galotti, K. (2000). Cognitive Psychology In and Out of the Laboratory. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Huttenlocher, P. (2009). Neural Plasticity: The Effects of Environment on the Development of the Cerebral Cortex. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.