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Rediscovering Development in Infancy

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  • Preparation of this commentary was supported by National Science Foundation Grant BCS-0002001, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grants HD-39925 and HD-50638, Grant P20MD00262 from the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, and a France-Berkeley Fund Award.

concerning this article should be addressed to Joseph J. Campos, Institute of Human Development, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94708-1620. Electronic mail may be sent to jcampos@berkeley.edu.

Abstract

This commentary endorses J. Kagan’s (2008) conclusion that many of the most dramatic findings on early perceptual, cognitive, and social competencies are ambiguous. It supports his call for converging research operations to disambiguate findings from single paradigms and single response indices. The commentary also argues that early competencies must be placed into a longitudinal framework, thereby allowing researchers to (a) identify whether regressive phenomena play a role in skill development, (b) understand what functions (if any) given skills play in their precocious manifestations and whether these functions are comparable in later instantiations of skills, and (c) avoid rich interpretations by identifying how robust a suspected competency is across contexts.

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