Inferring Structural Properties of Objects from Intentional Gestures in Infancy
Jacobson, John D.
In this study, we were interested in what 9-month-olds understood about the physical properties of an object after seeing an intentional gesture made toward the object. Specifically, we asked whether infants could make predictions about the presence or absence of a handle from the way a hand manipulated the object. Nine-month-olds were recruited to participate in the study. Infants were familiarized to a box and watched as the box was moved up-and-down by an experimenter. The way the experimenter held the box was either consistent with the presence of a handle or not. The back of the box was hidden from infants during this action sequence. After they had become familiarized to this action, the experimenter then showed infants the back of the box to reveal a handle or not. Infants' looking times were recorded. Infants were predicted to show renewed interest in the box when the experimenter's action during familiarization was inconsistent with what was revealed on the back of the box. However, babies looking time decreased in both cases suggesting that they did not notice this inconsistency.