Arlette Streri


The study of self-knowledge in infants is recent, and comes after very many studies of the infants knowledge of the physical world ; there are two reasons for this. 1. Knowing oneself presupposes that one is able to conceive of a world that is differentiated, objective, and different from self. This prerequisite has only now been clearly established by numerous studies of infants. Newborn infants do not live in a state of fusion with their environment from which they would have extract themselves. 2.The paradigme of the mirror experiment in order to test self-recognition in young children has shown its limits, and has been amply replaced by the technique of video images, which are much better adapted to the classical techniques for studying infants. The aim of this article is to show that the germ of self-knowledge is present from birth, on the basis of examples of imitation, intermodality and grasping objects. This self-knowledge is rooted in the movements of the infants own lived body. Already in the womb, via kinesthetic and proprioceptive systems, the infant has the possibility to establish a true body schema ; The notion of self-consciousness can develop on the basis of this identity ; The child, when he/she considers themselves as an object among other ojects, already has a self-image, a representation of self, which reveals a form of consciousness.

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