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Patron: Her Majesty the Queen


The Royal Scottish Society of Arts
Showcasing Scotland's Science, Technology and Innovation

5th Meeting of the 191st Session (2011-2012)

Infant Consciousness and the Importance of Infant Mental Health

Dr. Jonathan Delafield-Butt
Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
The University of Edinburgh

In the Augustine United Church
41 George IV Bridge
Edinburgh, EH1 1EL
On Monday 13th February 2012, at 7pm

Infant research shows us that human consciousness does not rest in single heads, but is shared between two or more minds in two or more bodies. Babies learn through sharing their consciousness — imbued with feelings and intentions — with others, and through others sharing their consciousness with them. This lecture will present behavioural and neurobiological evidence for human 'co-consciousness' and explore the importance of this early connection for learning and development. Social relations in the early years before language and formal teaching are increasingly being recognised as the psychological foundations for learning and development, and this new knowledge has great importance for smart government policy. Hard economic and social policy data will be discussed to emphasise the importance of this sensitive, early adult-infant connection and to suggest ways of supporting it.

Dr. Delafield-Butt is a neurobiologist and developmental psychologist at the University of Edinburgh and is an associate member of the Scottish Institute for Human Relations. His research examines the mind-body problem and emotional development in human infancy. He is currently editing a book on the importance of early years care for the psychological and social health of a person.

Location of meeting

Members of the Public are welcome to attend

Jane Ridder-Patrick, Secretary
Telephone: 0131 556 2161

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