ERIC Number: EJ850454
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
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.
Descriptors: Cognitive Development, Neonates, Identification, Goal Orientation, Human Body, Habituation, Attribution Theory, Testing, Perceptual Development, Child Development
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A