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    Minimal cues of possession transfer compel infants to ascribe the goal of giving

    Tatone, D. and Hernik, M. and Csibra, Gergely (2019) Minimal cues of possession transfer compel infants to ascribe the goal of giving. Open Mind , ISSN 2470-2986. (In Press)

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    Abstract

    Human infants’ readiness to interpret impoverished object-transfer events as acts of giving suggests the existence of a dedicated action schema for identifying interactions based on active object transfer. Here we investigated the sensitivity of this giving schema by testing whether 15-month-olds would interpret the displacement of an object as an agent’s goal even if it could be dismissed as side effect of a different goal. Across two looking-time experiments, we showed that, when the displacement only resulted in a change of object location, infants expected the agent to pursue the other goal. However, when the same change of location resulted in a transfer of object possession, infants reliably adopted this outcome as the agent’s goal. The interpretive shift that the mere presence of a potential recipient induced is testament to the infants’ susceptibility to cues of benefit delivery: an action efficiently causing a transfer of object possession appeared sufficient to induce the interpretation of goal-directed giving even if the transfer was carried out without any interaction between Giver and Givee and was embedded in an event affording an alternative goal interpretation.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centre: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Gergo Csibra
    Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2019 14:40
    Last Modified: 06 Aug 2019 02:34
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/26780

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