THE PERCEPTUAL WORLD OF THE CHILD by T. G. R. Bower

THE PERCEPTUAL WORLD OF THE CHILD

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Contrary to long-held beliefs, newborns have surprisingly complex organizational capacities and show evidence of some intersensory coordination. In this slim volume, Bower discusses the findings of the few experiments which have measured infant perceptual abilities. Newborns can look to the side a sound comes from, respond defensively when an object approaches head-on, and imitate facial gestures--waving a tongue, blinking. These capacities seem even more remarkable when one considers the infant's own constantly growing sensory apparatus: each week the hand appears a little farther away, the skin's receptors increase and cover a larger area. Bower explains that multiplying nerve cells and thickening nerve fibers improve the information-handling ability, and he uses known developmental patterns, examples of atrophy from understimulation periods, and contrasts among the handicapped to extend his suppositions. After about six months, children no longer reach compulsively for unseen sounds but prefer to respond to visual cues; and after age six, the evidence of the senses tends to complement rather than dominate intellectual judgment--as Piaget's conservation tests have demonstrated. A cogent, professional survey of the available research and another commendable entry in The Developing Child series.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Harvard Univ. Press