The role of effects for infants' perception of action goals.

TitleThe role of effects for infants' perception of action goals.
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsGergely, Gy., B. Jovanovic, B. Király, and et al
Pages273 - 290

Recent studies have demonstrated that 6-month-olds perceive manual actions as object-directed (Woodward, 1999) — and that 8-, but not 6-month-olds, apply this interpretation even to unfamiliar actions if these produce salient object-directed effects (Kiràly, Jovanovic, Prinz, Aschersleben, & Gergely, 2003). The present study had two objectives. First, we tested the alternative interpretation that action effects result in a general increase of attention by testing infants with an analogous paradigm, including however a non-human agent. Second, we investigated in how far the negative findings for the 6-month-olds reported in the study by Kiràly et al. (2003) might be due to the familiarity of the action or the discriminability of the objects involved. The results indicate that adding effects to both a familiar and an unfamiliar action leads even 6-month-olds to interpret the respective action as object-directed, given that the objects are well discriminable. However, infants do not apply such an interpretation to actions of a non-human agent.


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