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Infants' Understanding of Others' Behaviors: Do Infants Tie Goals to Individuals?

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dc.contributor.advisor Sommerville, Jessica A en_US Yun, Jung-eun en_US 2012-09-13T17:33:56Z 2013-09-14T11:05:26Z 2012-09-13 2012 en_US
dc.identifier.other Yun_washington_0250O_10269.pdf en_US
dc.description Thesis (Master's)--University of Washington, 2012 en_US
dc.description.abstract During the first year of life, infants understand others' simple actions as goal directed, that is, as directed toward particular objects in the world. However, to date, the exact nature of infants' understanding of goals is unknown. As adults, we often see goals as not just outcomes that reliably occur with particular actions, but as being tied to individuals and personal characteristics of individuals. Using a visual habituation paradigm, two experiments examined whether infants are able to understand that others' goal-directed actions are tied to individual identity rather than superficial properties of individuals, such as the particular shirt an actor is wearing. In both Experiments, 10- and 8-month-old infants were assigned to either the switch actor or the switch shirt condition. During the habituation trials, one actor wearing a yellow shirt (Actor A) and another actor wearing a blue shirt (Actor B) were positioned side-by-side in front of a stage supporting two objects. Actor A repeatedly reached for and grasped one of the two objects while Actor B, positioned next to Actor A, looked down. Following habituation, the locations of the objects were reversed. On the test trials, the actor alternated between pursuing her prior goal object (in a new location; target toy event) and pursuing a new-goal object (non-target toy event). In the switch actor condition, Actor B performed the test trials wearing the same shirt that actor A had worn on habituation trials. In contrast, in the switch shirt condition, Actor A performed the test trials wearing the shirt that Actor B had worn during habituation trials. The results show that 10-month-olds, but not 8-month-old infants, generalize goals across a change in physical appearance that is not central to personal identity. However, they do not generalize goals across individuals. These results suggest that by at least 10 months of age, infants appear to understand goals as tied to the individual identity. The findings are discussed in terms of infants' understanding of goal-directed action. en_US
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.rights Copyright is held by the individual authors. en_US
dc.subject action; goal understanding; infants; preference en_US
dc.subject.other Psychology en_US
dc.subject.other Psychology en_US
dc.title Infants' Understanding of Others' Behaviors: Do Infants Tie Goals to Individuals? en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.embargo.terms Restrict to UW for 1 year -- then make Open Access en_US

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