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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/212

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

sense, but far from taking pleasure in looking at themselves, they got angry and would look no more.

When five months old, associated ideas arising independently of any instruction became fixed in his mind; thus as soon as his hat and cloak were put on, he was very cross if he was not immediately taken out of doors. When exactly seven months old, he made the great step of associating his nurse with her name, so that if I called it out he would look round for her. Another infant used to amuse himself by shaking his head laterally; we praised and imitated him, saying, "Shake your head;" and when he was seven months old, he would sometimes do so on being told without any other guide. During the next four months the former infant associated many things and actions with words; thus when asked for a kiss he would protrude his lips and keep still—would shake his head and say in a scolding voice, "Ah," to the coal-box or a little spilt water, etc., which he had been taught to consider as dirty. I may add that when a few days under nine months old, he associated his own name with his image in the looking-glass, and when called by name would turn towards the glass, even when at some distance from it. When a few days over nine months, he learned spontaneously that a hand or other object causing a shadow to fall on the wall in front of him was to be looked for behind. Whilst under a year old, it was sufficient to repeat two or three times at intervals any short sentence to fix firmly in his mind some associated idea. In the infant described by M. Taine, the age at which ideas readily became associated seems to have been considerably later, unless, indeed, the earlier cases were overlooked. The facility with which associated ideas due to instruction and others spontaneously arising were acquired, seemed to me by far the most strongly marked of all the distinctions between the mind of an infant and that of the cleverest full-grown dog that I have ever known. What a contrast does the mind of an infant present to that of the pike, described by Professor Mobius,[1] who, during three whole months dashed and stunned himself against a glass partition which separated him from some minnows; and when, after at last learning that he could not attack them with impunity, he was placed in the aquarium with these same minnows, then in a persistent and senseless manner he would not attack them!

Curiosity, as M. Taine remarks, is displayed at an early age by infants, and is highly important in the development of their minds; but I made no special observation on this head. Imitation likewise comes into play. When our infant was only four months old, I thought that he tried to imitate sounds; but I may have deceived myself, for I was not thoroughly convinced that he did so until he was ten months


  1. ↑ 'Die Bewegungen der Thiere,' etc., 1878, p. 11.