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ERIC Number: EJ850454
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Sep
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
Infants' Attribution of a Goal to a Morphologically Unfamiliar Agent
Shimizu, Y. Alpha; Johnson, Susan C.
Developmental Science, v7 n4 p425-430 Sep 2004
How do infants identify the psychological actors in their environments? Three groups of 12-month-old infants were tested for their willingness to encode a simple approach behavior as goal-directed as a function of whether it was performed by (1) a human hand, (2) a morphologically unfamiliar green object that interacted with a confederate and behaved intentionally, or (3) the same unfamiliar green object that behaved in a matched, but apparently random manner. Using a visual habituation technique, only infants in the first two conditions were found to encode the approach behavior as goal-directed. Thus infants appear able to attribute goals to non-human, even unfamiliar agents. These results imply that by the end of the first year of life infants have a broad notion of what counts as an agent that cannot easily be reduced to humans, objects that are perceptually similar to humans, or objects that display self-propulsion.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A