Intermodal origins of self-perception

Lorraine E. Bahrick, Florida International University


This chapter focuses on the development of two kinds of knowledge about the self in early infancy: intermodal information relating one's seen and felt motions, and featural information about one's visual appearance. Knowledge about these aspects of self derives from different sources of information and thus may develop separately, but in an interrelated manner. The provocative question of, when do infants know that the stimulation from the self specifies that self, is also explored in the context of the infant's increasing sensitivity to these two sources of information. The chapter explores the intermodal bases for self-perception in early infancy. The chapter reviews evidence from a series of studies conducted in lab that suggested that infants make important strides toward perceiving and understanding the self, even during the first half year of life. Furthermore, when taken together with the ongoing discovery of new capabilities in infancy for detecting and responding to stimulation arising from the self, it is clear that the concept of the emergence of self knowledge requires updating. © 1995 Elsevier B.V.