Human Symbol Grounding

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Trevarthen (1997, 1998; Trevarthen and Aitken, 2001) provides behavioural, functional, and neural evidence that expressive dynamics give infants environment expectant powers. Denying that attunement-based dynamics are sufficient to explain early infant development (Kaye, 1982; Rochat, 2002; Fogel et al., 2006),

Adaptor (Perceived caregiver dynamics)

he posits a motivated process of neural development. What he terms IMF integrates caregiver expression with an infant's changing evaluative standards. Before using the organic code model to compare IMF to a coding base, I show how semantic syntheses arise from caregiver dynamics:

In empirical work, Cowley et al. (2004) argue that, at 14 weeks, babies exploit signs of culture. To extend this claim, I focus on an incident described in that work (also, Cowley, 2006). Specifically, a 14-week-old Zulu girl interacts as described:

Initially, the baby shows signs of incipient distress. Like her mother, we do not know why she is (mildly) upset. Interestingly, however, frame-by-frame analysis shows that this occurs shortly after she has failed to make contact with her mother's hand. Following mutual gaze, the baby emulates her movement and, failing to achieve touch, breaks gaze and begins to cry. About 1 second later, the mother shows full direct response. Using complicated African hand movements that a Westerner finds difficult to copy, she gets the child to return gaze. As the mother produces complex waving movements, without returning gaze, she says or sings nge ka (no!) with sound spreading over the syllables. As she does so the child relaxes - she is not afraid - and the mother picks up on the change by lowering her hands and smiling. This part of the event takes about 3 seconds.

While not even a trained observer can explain why she falls silent, the baby acts on cue. Using Zulu expression, she acts in a socially coherent way at the right time. She meets her mother's wish that she thula (or fall silent). Since other dyads feature similar coordination, Cowley et al. (2004) regard this as part of local culture. Further, given the smile, the baby may experience her reward. For Trevarthen (1979, 1998), this inter subjective behaviour uses IMF. Subcortical structures change interactions in ways that shape a relationship. Given IMF, dyadic events enable the baby to learn what a caregiver is likely to want (and hope for). Even now the baby sensitises to (some) cultural norms. Since these are historically specific, they fill out more information than internal constraints (imitation or intention reading) could express. Unless it is innate (which is very unlikely), this complementary behaviour must draw on a shared history. Infant experience gives rise to behaviour timed to fit ongoing displays. Controlled as this is by the brain (not the whole baby), the dyad uses nontrivial causal spread.

Mother and infant engage in circular interaction. Each reorients in increasingly sophisticated activity that Cowley (2007) calls mutual gearing. Without (inner) understanding, their interpersonal dance serves to calibrate and recalibrate what each is likely to offer (including obedience and its rewards). As with adult construals, physical patterns index cultural categories. Indeed, it is especially striking that the 14-week-old orients to Zulu gestures. (On viewing the video, other South Africans have commented that their babies would cry more.) Metaphorically, she reads intentions or, simply, does what the caregiver wants. Further, her inhibition is both coherent and, as shown by a beaming smile, rewarded.10 Infant prospects are shaped

10 It is hard for adults to modify infant behaviour. Leaving aside what may be universal responses to picking up, feeding, rocking, etc., modified reorientations probably begin after about the 6th week. Once the behaviour becomes established, it is both anticipatory and culturally specific (Cowley et al., 2004).

by interactional history. By using contingencies to relate to patterns, the baby exploits a history of interactions to evaluate circumstances. Given this kind of active perception, her mother's dynamics ground changing routines. Without intrinsic goals (or intentional states) her repertoire grows by coming to anticipate rewards. Coregulated events thus develop by using what Cowley and MacDorman (2006) call epistemic actions. Babies who still lack any capacity to set goals are nonetheless prompted to exploit cultural norms. This is possible because IMF triggers motivations based on experience. Already, the Zulu girl senses something of what her mother wants. In organic coding terms, semantic synthesis shapes social behaviour reveals the baby's rudimentary awareness.

The baby uses indexical representations. Although unaware of why the caregiver acts, value laden movements enable her to discover normative patterns. She develops evaluative standards (or representations) that, as in other mammals, allow what Sterelny (2003) calls robust tracking. Kravchenko (2007) calls these first-order descriptions because their value pertains to the dyad - not the baby. In this respect, the infants resemble the airport workers. As in pre-training utterances of gravy, they use a feeling of what happens (Damasio, 2003). However, while trained workers bring the vocalization (or epistemic action) under individual control, the baby can rely on the caregiver's consistent use of semantic markers. Like the rewarding smile, these enact cultural display. While like the airport workers in using real-time events that represent cultural patterns, the baby is not taught to inhibit. Rather, given self-organization, action is reshaped by norms that, in time, do become relevant for the (whole) baby. Given intrinsic motivation, the baby draws on what Di Paolo (2005) calls adaptivity. As motivation develops, contingency recognition uses micro-responses that are taken to show anticipation. Cascading changes occur as interaction gives the baby preferences. The effect is redoubled by how infant promptings make caregivers highlight what conforms and contrasts with expectations. The baby's motivations thus draw on cultural motivations. Consistent reorientations make infant expression more subtle and, as a result, lead to marked changes in caregiver actions, feelings, and beliefs. The infant scaffolds the caregiver as both parties attribute similar values to interactional moves. Nontrivial causal spread enables the baby to develop motivations based on experience of the caregiver's doings.

Much depends on conflict and cooperation. As babies are not automata, caregiv-ers can gauge distress or hunger. They gear to babies by ensuring that displays of 'when baby should thula' match the setting. In this way, infants use Zulu semiotics ('thula now') in learning about circumstances. As reactions compress features of the world, their increasing sensitivity will bring rewards. This will be integrated with the synaptic pruning and autoptosis used as neural systems discriminate kinds of events. Expressive artefacts thus manufacture semantic synthesis using processes that resemble those found in the adults who report attitudes and identify meanings. In identifying percepts, infant communication drives cortical differentiation. Natural artefacts trigger activity that adults can understand. Infant strategic behaviour attunes to adult expectations as changing motivations shape the baby's sense of persons. Events connect IMF with mutual gearing to invoke rewards. The result is felt response where intrinsic systems fill out incomplete information. Sensibility to contingencies enables babies to incorporate ways of picking up on what cultural circumstances offer.

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