Infant Social Cognition: An Introduction
Lonnie R. Sherrod
Social Science Research Council
Michael E. Lamb
University of Utah
By definition, social cognition refers to the way individuals perceive and understand other people. In this volume, we restrict our focus rather narrowly to the manner in which knowledge about people and their behavior is acquired during the first 2 years of life. Our topic, therefore, lies squarely at the interface of the developmental, social, and cognitive areas within psychology.
In the first section of this chapter, we identify major concerns in the study of developmental social cognition and trace these foci back to three areas from which the field developed. We do so not simply to highlight the history of the area, but because an acquaintance with the field's origins may help readers understand why certain phenomena are of interest, and why particular approaches have predominated. In the second section, we describe three ways in which the study of developmental social cognition can be approached most fruitfully. These approaches represent alternative ways of achieving conceptual organization, and all are represented and exemplified in this volume. In the third and final section, we summarize the contributions to this book, indicating how each advances our understanding of infant social cognition.
In a nutshell, students of developmental social cognition have acquired from cognitive psychologists a concern with perceptual processes, reasoning, and concept formation; from social psychologists a concern with the way we
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Publication information: Book title: Infant Social Cognition:Empirical and Theoretical Considerations. Contributors: Michael E. Lamb - Editor, Lonnie R. Sherrod - Editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Hillsdale, NJ. Publication year: 1981. Page number: 1.
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