Innocence lost

At approximately the age of four children lose their innocence and become capable of deceit. The exact time of “crossing over” can be tested in a simple experiment that heralds the child’s ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes. When this ability develops a child is able to switch his perspective to that of another person, and they begin to think what other people think, and care what other people feel.

If you would like to know more about this fascinating story of early childhood development, please follow this link.

This milestone in childhood development is also considered to be the stage where children begin to reason logically and start to communicate intelligently about the world according to their own experience. It is also their experiences that provide the trigger for “crossing over”, as it is the direct result of a realization that the emotions they emphatically feel do not always correlate with the tone of speech that they hear or the facial expressions and actions they perceive.

In an honest and open society all these sensory experiences maintain a coherency and harmony that result in the child’s fist construct of reality.  According to scientific research, one of the first sensory skills that infants develop is the ability to determine between various facial patterns, and to recognize them in different faces. The opposite is also true, that they can discriminate between different individuals in a particular species, and that they recognize individuals if they see them more than once.

What is even more astounding is the fact that this ability go beyond the human race to include fowl, pigs and sheep. At least those were the animals I know that were tested, and it is only one of the daily discoveries we are making in the field of human development. Perhaps it is also the most important one, because the facial patterns that we are exposed to at this stage in our development become our reference to the emotional content of the environment. If the majority of facial patterns look like this and I feel scared, any other situation with those facial patterns is different.

In environments where there is coherency between facial pattern and emotional content, infants will have better sensory development than where there is a constant flux. If an infant cannot find harmony between the observed pattern and the emotional content of the environment, it results in continuous uncertainty. Uncertainty that may threaten any further development, and which may lead to an unstable knowledge and skills base. It may also be that the facial patterns observed are coherent but confusing across different environments, in which case the infants may fix an incorrect facial pattern to an emotion, or they may change their sensitivity to the empathic experience.

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