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ERIC Number: EJ925756
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Newborns' Preference for Goal-Directed Actions
Craighero, Laila; Leo, Irene; Umilta, Carlo; Simion, Francesca
Cognition, v120 n1 p26-32 Jul 2011
The central role of sensory-motor representations in cognitive functions is almost universally accepted. However, determining the link between motor execution and its sensory counterpart and when, during ontogenesis, this link originates are still under investigation. The aim of the present study is to investigate whether at birth this link is already present and 2-day-old newborns are able to discriminate between visual cues indicating goal-directed or non-goal-directed actions. Here, with a preferential looking technique, a hand grasping a ball was the observed movement and we orthogonally manipulated the three factors necessary to successfully reach the goal: (a) presence of the ball, (b) direction of the arm movement, and (c) hand shaping. Results indicated that newborns orient more frequently and look longer at a hand shape for whole hand prehension but only when the movement is directed away from the body and toward the external world. In addition, newborns prefer the away from the body movement only when the object is present. We argue that newborns prefer a movement directed toward the external world only when it may develop into a purposeful movement because of the presence of the to-be-grasped object. Overall, our results support the existence of primitive sensory-motor associations since the first days after birth. (Contains 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A