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Actions, Skills and Meaning
Actions, skills and meaning
Where Do Representations of Movement and Objects Come from?

Early mark-making is a member of a family of interrelated expressive and representational actions. In the previous chapter, the observation of Ben painting showed that he was representing the movement, shape and location of an object. Where did these understandings and abilities come from?

Recent studies of newborn babies suggest that expressive thought begins at, or soon after, birth (Spelke, 1985; Trevarthen, 1995; Thelen and Smith, 1994; Thelen et al., 2000). This is very different from the idea of the baby as a blank slate. Studies reveal that when babies enter the world they are quickly able to take part in elementary ‘conversations’ with an adult partner, usually the mother (Stern, ...

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