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Friday, 8 November 2013

Ontogeny of early human Umwelt article finished

This night (sic) I finished my article "The ontogeny of the embryonic, foetal and infant human Umwelt" - about 7.500 words, with 8 figures. The article has been submitted to Sign Systems Studies, which will publish a special issue on the theme of the 8th conference of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies, "Sign evolution on multiple time scales".

Contents:
1. Introduction
2. Research questions
3. Conceptual framework
4. The embryonic Umwelt
5. The foetal Umwelt
6. The infant Umwelt
Abstract 
This article, which envelops a case study and theoretical development of Umwelt theory, addresses four research questions: At what point does the human Umwelt emerge? What Umwelt transitions can be identified in the ontogenesis of the early human Umwelt? What else is characteristic of the Umwelt trajectory of human embryos/foetuses/infants? And how are Umwelt objects established/crystallized/fixated in the human Umwelt?

The early human Umwelt is characterised by rapid change, radical transformations, and gradual establishment of the first and most basic Umwelt objects by way of exploration and learning. While the human Umwelt arguably emerges already at the embryonic stage, the sense-saturated Umwelt emerges at the foetal stage. Unlike an adult’s Umwelt, the Umwelt of the foetus and the infant is not fully functional from the perspective of the organism itself. In other words, their functioning directly depends on others. Our human sociality is further stimulated by shared undertakings early on in our terrestrial lives which effectively make us part of some specific social system.

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