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ERIC Number: EJ939689
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 54
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
The Animate-Inanimate Distinction in Infancy: Developing Sensitivity to Constraints on Human Actions
Molina, Michele; Van de Walle, Gretchen A.; Condry, Kirsten; Spelke, Elizabeth S.
Journal of Cognition and Development, v5 n4 p399-426 2004
Infants aged 4 and 6 months were presented with events in which a person acted so as to set another person, or an inanimate object, in motion. In one condition, the actor spoke to the person (natural) or inanimate object (unnatural); in the other condition, the actor grasped and manipulated the person (unnatural) or object (natural). Six-month-old infants looked reliably longer at the natural actions than at the unnatural actions. A follow-up experiment revealed that their preference depended on the naturalness of the human actions themselves, not on the features or motions of the person or object that was acted upon. Looking preferences at 4 months were equivocal, consistent with the thesis that sensitivity to the natural actions develops over the first 6 months of age. We discuss these findings in relation to the development of social understanding, social gaze, and visual exploration. (Contains 6 figures and 4 footnotes.)
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: Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A