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Infants attribute goals even to biomechanically impossible actions

Southgate, Victoria and Johnson, Mark H. and Csibra, Gergely (2008) Infants attribute goals even to biomechanically impossible actions. Cognition 107 (3), pp. 1059-1069. ISSN 0010-0277.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2007.10.002

Abstract

Human infants readily interpret the actions of others in terms of goals, but the origins of this important cognitive skill are keenly debated. We tested whether infants recognize others′ actions as goal-directed on the basis of their experience with carrying out and observing goal-directed actions, or whether their perception of a goal-directed action is based on the recognition of a specific event structure. Counterintuitively, but consistent with our prediction, we observed that infants appear to extend goal attribution even to biomechanically impossible actions so long as they are physically efficient, indicating that the notion of ‘goal′ is unlikely to be derived directly from infants′ experience.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Goal attribution, biological motion, efficiency, infants
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2011 11:49
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:18
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2337

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