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ERIC Number: EJ934774
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Oct
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Infants' Understanding of Actions Performed by Mechanical Devices
Boyer, Ty W.; Pan, J. Samantha; Bertenthal, Bennett I.
Cognition, v121 n1 p1-11 Oct 2011
Recent research suggests that 9-month-old infants tested in a modified version of the A-not-B search task covertly imitate actions performed by the experimenter. The current study examines whether infants also simulate actions performed by mechanical devices, and whether this varies with whether or not they have been familiarized with the devices and their function. In Experiment 1, infants observed hiding and retrieving actions performed by a pair of mechanical claws on the A-trials, and then searched for the hidden toy on the B-trial. In Experiment 2, infants were first familiarized with the experimenter and the claws but not their function. In Experiment 3, infants were familiarized with the function of the claws. The results revealed that search errors were at chance levels in Experiments 1 and 2, but a significant proportion of the infants showed the A-not-B error in Experiment 3. These results suggest that 9-month-old infants are less likely to simulate observed actions performed by mechanical devices than by human agents, unless they are familiarized with the function of the devices so that their actions are perceived as goal-directed. (Contains 1 table and 3 figures.)
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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