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Understanding goal-directed human actions and physical causality: the role of mother–infant interaction

Hohenberger, A. and Elsabbagh, Mayada and Serres, J. and de Schoenen, S. and Karmiloff-Smith, Annette and Aschersleben, G. (2012) Understanding goal-directed human actions and physical causality: the role of mother–infant interaction. Infant Behavior and Development 35 (4), pp. 898-911. ISSN 0163-6383.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2012.09.005

Abstract

This study addresses the relation between early cognitive development and mother–infant interaction. Infants at the age of 6 and 10 months recruited from labs in three European countries – Germany, Great Britain, and France – were tested on two cognitive tasks: understanding of goal-directed human action and physical causality. Mother–infant interaction was assessed with the CARE-Index. In the goal-directed action task, the overall sample of the 6-month olds did not yet reliably discriminate between an object-change and a path-change trial while a subsample of infants of modestly controlling mothers did. All infants at 10 months of age showed discrimination. In the physical causality task, the overall sample of the 6-month olds did not yet reliably discriminate between an expected and an unexpected launching event. At 10 months of age, the overall sample showed discrimination, due to the major subsample of infants of highly sensitive mothers. Our findings support the view that exogenous factors influence cognitive development within a particular time window, in highly specific ways, depending on the age of the subjects, the cognitive domain, and the quality of mother–infant interaction.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Human goal-directed action, Physical causality, Mother–infant interaction, CARE-Index
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2012 08:37
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:25
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/5291

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