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Production and perception of contralateral reaching: A close link by 12 months of age

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Melzer,  Anne
Department Psychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Prinz,  Wolfgang
Department Psychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Daum,  Moritz M.
Department Psychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Melzer, A., Prinz, W., & Daum, M. M. (2012). Production and perception of contralateral reaching: A close link by 12 months of age. Infant Behavior and Development, 35(3), 570-579. doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2012.05.003.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-172C-C
Abstract
The development of a common representation of action production and observation in infants is an exciting research area with many open questions. When action production and action observation tasks are used, a fundamental problem is the comparability of the tasks. Action production per se includes the anticipation of a goal, but the tasks used to test action observation often lack anticipatory components. The goal of the present study was to measure infants’ action production and observation skills with tasks that both include goal anticipation, in a within-subject design. In the production task, the frequency of 6- and 12-month-old infants’ contralateral reaching movements was examined. In the observation task, videos of contralateral movements being performed were presented to the same infants and anticipatory eye movements were analysed. The main findings were: (1) 12-month-olds used their contralateral hand more frequently than 6-month-olds; (2) 12-month-olds mainly anticipated the goals of observed actions, whereas 6-month-olds mainly followed the action; finally, and most importantly, (3) at 12 months, production and observation were linked, but at 6 months, this was not yet the case. Our results show that anticipatory eye movements do not instantly reflect infants’ reaching production. A certain amount of eExperience is required to establish a common representation of the production and the observation of reaching movements.