The present research investigated whether 13.5-month-old infants would attribute to an actor a disposition to perform a recurring action, and would then use this information to predict which of two new objects - one that could be used to perform the action and one that could not - the actor would grasp next. During familiarization, the infants watched an actor slide various objects forward and backward on an apparatus floor. During test, the infants saw two new identical objects placed side by side: one stood inside a short frame that left little room for sliding; the other stood inside a longer frame that left ample room for sliding. The infants who saw the actor grasp the object inside the short frame looked reliably longer than those who saw the actor grasp the object inside the long frame. This and control results from a lifting condition provide evidence that by 13.5 months, infants can attribute to an actor a disposition to perform a particular action.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by grants from NICHD to Renée Baillargeon (HD 21104) and Cynthia Fisher (HD 44458). We thank Gergely Csibra and György Gergely for helpful comments; the staff of the University of Illinois Infant Cognition Laboratory for their help with the data collection; and the parents and infants who kindly participated in the research.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Language and Linguistics
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- Cognitive Neuroscience