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The Infant’s World

The Infant’s World

Philippe Rochat

ISBN 9780674008366

Publication date: 05/15/2004

What do infants know? What do they feel, and how do they come to understand what’s happening around them? How do they begin to construe others as persons with feelings and intentions? These questions inspire this remarkable new look at the infant’s world. The short answer? Infants are much more sophisticated perceivers, feelers, and thinkers of their world than we may think.

In this lively book, Philippe Rochat makes a case for an ecological approach to human development. Looking at the ecological niche infants occupy, he describes how infants develop capabilities and conceptual understanding in relation to three interconnected domains: the self, objects, and other people. Drawing on the great body of contemporary “competent infant” research, Rochat offers a thoughtful overview of many current, controversial topics, from neonatal imitation to early numeracy, to the development of self-awareness. In a provocative conclusion, he describes infancy as a series of key transitions—so dramatic that they are sometimes called “revolutions”—and maps out the processes that impel development.

Offering a unifying theoretical vision of the vast research of recent years, The Infant’s World is an inspiring introduction to the liveliest area of modern psychology.


  • This is a well-written, well-argued book, with a novel structure… And what of the world of the infant? It is not the blooming, buzzing confusion of James, but neither is it our narratively structured, past-and-future–focused internal experience. It is something we can only guess at, but Rochat guesses better than most.

    —Dina Lew, The Psychologist


  • Philippe Rochat is Professor of Psychology at Emory University.

Book Details

  • 272 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 9 inches
  • Harvard University Press