Infants' Sense of People

Precursors to a Theory of Mind

Infants' Sense of People

Drawing on a broad range of research and developmental theory and focusing on infants during their first year of life, Maria Legerstee asserts that they have an innate sense of people at birth, which is activated through sympathetic emotions. She questions the idea that infants use physical parameters such as contingencies or motion to distinguish people from objects, and rejects the assumption that infants are mechanical creatures before they become psychological ones. She argues persuasively that before infants learn to speak, interactions with others are possible because infants have a primitive pre-linguistic 'theory of mind'.


'The book provides a valuable synthesis of current theoretical approaches and research on the roots of social and cognitive development in general, with a focus on children's Theory of Mind.' Pnina S. Klein, Bar-Ilan University, Israel