Infants attribute goals even to biomechanically impossible actions

TitleInfants attribute goals even to biomechanically impossible actions
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsSouthgate, V., M. H. Johnson, and G. Csibra
Journal titleCognition
Pages1059 - 1069

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. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


exported from refbase (, last updated on Wed, 15 Jul 2009 09:58:02 +0200

Publisher link