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The role of effects for infants' perception of action goals

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

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Aschersleben,  Gisa
Research Group Infant Cognition and Action, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Jovanovic, B., Király, I., Elsner, B., Gergely, G., Prinz, W., & Aschersleben, G. (2007). The role of effects for infants' perception of action goals. Psychologia, 50(4), 273-290. doi:10.2117/psysoc.2007.273.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-E373-7
Abstract
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 Kiraly 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.