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Autumn Lecture 2013
Babies want to have fun: young selves and the sharing of meaning
Professor Colwyn Trevarthen
Infants show hopeful imagination for storytelling, seeking companionship in acting and knowing, not just care from a devoted mother. They express thoughts in movement, animating joy of sharing with father, brothers and sisters, indeed any willing ‘person in relation’ with them. This ‘human sense’ is the natural foundation for friendship, for making meaning. By following how young children share fun, we discover the intimate motives for the arts and techniques of our cultural worlds. ‘Communicative Musicality’, with ‘executive functioning’ and ‘mindfulness’, stimulating delight and well-being in family and community before representation in words, is essential to effective education and therapy.
Colwyn Trevarthen is Professor (Emeritus) of Child Psychology and Psychobiology at The University of Edinburgh, where he has taught since 1971. He trained as a biologist, and has published on brain development, infant communication and child learning and emotional health. He is interested in the natural motives children have for making friends and for learning what other people know, the effects of disorders, such as autism and depressive illness, and how to help parents and teachers give the best care and companionship to young children.
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