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Is Consciousness in its Infancy in Infancy?

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In this article, I examine the literature from three domains of cognitive development in the first years of life — mathematics, categorization and induction — to determine whether infants possess concepts that allow them explicitly to reason and make inferences about the objects and events in the world. To achieve this aim, I use the distinction between procedural and declarative knowledge as a marker for the presence of access consciousness. According to J.M. Mandler, infants' early concepts are represented as accessible declarative knowledge. However, the evidence discussed in this article indicates that infants' early concepts are best depicted as procedural, perceptually-based knowledge that are inaccessible to consciousness. I conclude by speculating about the role of language development on the emergence of consciousness towards the end of the second year of life.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology , Carnegie Mellon University , 5000 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2007


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