Infant Cognitive Development - Overview


Tabula rasa is a theory that the (human) mind is at birth a "blank slate" without any rules for processing data, that data is added and rules for processing are formed solely by one's sensory experiences. The modern idea of the theory is mostly attributed to John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, written in the 17th century.

Its corollary, nativism, argues that we are born with certain cognitive modules that allow us to learn and acquire certain skills, such as language, and is most associated with the recent work of Noam Chomsky, Jerry Fodor, and Steven Pinker.

If one accepts that nothing is known until learned, and that everyone shares a basic common sense, it appears infants must—to some degree—make some specific ontological inferences about how the world works, and what kinds of things it contains. This procedure is studied in psychology and its validity is studied in philosophy.

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