Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception Institut Neurosciences Cognition Université Paris Descartes Centre National de Recherche Scientifique
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The temporal dimensions in the first year of life

Time is a multifaceted concept critical in our cognitive lives that can refer, among others, to the period that lapses between the initial encounter with a stimulus and its posterior recognition, as well as to the specific duration during which a certain event lasts. In the first part of this paper, we will review studies that explain the involvement of the temporal dimension in the processing of sensory information, in the form of a temporal delay that impacts the accuracy of information processing. We will review studies that investigate the time intervals required to encode, retain and remember a stimulus across sensory modalities in preverbal infants. In the second part, we will review studies that examine preverbal infants’ ability to encode the duration and distinguish events. In particular, we will discuss recent studies that show how the ability to recognize the timing of events in infants and newborns parallels, and is related to, their ability to compute other quantitative dimensions, such as number and space.