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ERIC Number: EJ858437
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-1525-0008
Eight-Month-Old Infants Infer Unfulfilled Goals, despite Ambiguous Physical Evidence
Hamlin, J. Kiley; Newman, George E.; Wynn, Karen
Infancy, v14 n5 p579-590 2009
In this study, we tested whether 8-month-old infants could infer an actor's unfulfilled goal, despite some physical information present in the displays being inconsistent with the attempted goal. Infants saw a human hand holding a ring repeatedly approach the top of a plastic cone in an apparent failed attempt to place the ring on the cone. The hand and ring then bounced away from the top of the cone toward the floor. Thus, some information presented was relevant to the goal (the motion toward the goal, the afforded relationship between the ring and the cone, and the repeated attempt), but some of it was irrelevant to the goal (the movement away from the goal). Infants were presented with 2 test events: 1 that was consistent with all the trajectory information but inconsistent with the goal, and 1 that was consistent with the goal. Eight-month-olds looked longer to the trajectory-consistent event, suggesting they were able to infer the goal despite the physical ambiguity. Infants who had not been habituated to the failed attempt or who saw a matched inanimate control did not show this pattern, suggesting that infants in the first year of life actively and selectively analyze the unfulfilled goal-directed behavior of others. (Contains 3 footnotes and 2 figures.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A