ERIC Number: EJ867425
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Goal Attribution to Schematic Animals: Do 6-Month-Olds Perceive Biological Motion as Animate?
Schlottmann, Anne; Ray, Elizabeth
Developmental Science, v13 n1 p1-10 Jan 2010
Infants are sensitive to biological motion, but do they recognize it as animate? As a first step towards answering this question, two experiments investigated whether 6-month-olds selectively attribute goals to shapes moving like animals. We habituated infants to a square moving towards one of two targets. When target locations were switched, infants reacted more to movement towards a new goal than a new location--but only if the square moved non-rigidly and rhythmically, in a schematic version of bio-mechanical movement older observers describe as animal-like (Michotte, 1963). Goal attribution was specific to schematic animal motion: It did not occur if the square moved rigidly with the same rhythm as the animate stimulus, or if the square had the same amount of non-rigid deformation, but in an inanimate configuration. The data would seem to show that perception of schematic animal motion is linked to a system for psychological reasoning from infancy. This in turn suggests that 6-month-olds may already interpret biological motion as animate.
Descriptors: Animals, Infants, Motion, Goal Orientation, Attribution Theory, Habituation, Schemata (Cognition), Perceptual Development, Biology
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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