Innocence lost - Part 3

The ability to remember, recognize and discriminate between different patterns of facial expression is one of the earliest visual skills that babies master. This amazing ability that most of us lose along with our innocence at the approximate age of four, is one of a range of abilities that infants possess, but as you will see it is definitely one of the most important.

The facial patterns that we are exposed to at this early stage in our development combine with our instinctive talent of empathy to lay the foundation on which we develop our ability to accurately determine the emotional content of our environment. If the majority of facial patterns in a situation conform to a particular pattern and I feel scared, any other situation with similar facial patterns will result in internal conflict and confusion.

Infants that find themselves in emotionally honest environments that maintain coherence between facial patterns and emotional content have a sensory development advantage as opposed to environments where there is a constant flux. And if an infant cannot find some harmony between the pattern they observe and the emotional content of their environment, the nett result is uncertainty. Uncertainty that may threaten their further development, and which may lead to an unstable knowledge and skill-set. The same will apply where the facial patterns being observed are coherent in some, but confusing across different environments with the same emotional content. These infants may then try to resolve the conflict and end up linking the wrong facial pattern to a given emotion, or they may simply change their sensitivity to the empathic experience.

It is this principle that explain the incredible results we get when we ‘treat’ autistic children with “horse therapy”. By finding an honest and open source of emotional content in the horses, children with autism can begin to normalize their empathic experience. Following such normalization they often begin to improve dramatically, providing for a much better social prognosis.

During the first few months of life, a baby will continue to develop new sensory abilities. As these new sensory abilities of babies are stimulated, their brains develop further to provide them with a level of sensory discrimination and sensitivity that is in measure to the environmental exposure. All this sensory information is constantly referenced by the emotional content of the environment in which it is experienced, and further combined with the babies growing knowledge of different facial patterns.

Until they cross over, at which stage the child enters a totally new reality. A reality where they become a conscious player in a complex game of intention and emotion that will, to a large extent, determine their social success over the next few years.

If you would like to read the full article you can find it here.


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