Infants can infer the presence of hidden objects from referential gaze information

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53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Infants' apparent failure in gaze-following tasks is often interpreted as a sign of lack of understanding the referential nature of looking. In the present study, 8- and 12-month-old infants followed the gaze of a model to one of two locations hidden from their view by occluders. When the occluders were removed, an object was revealed either at the location where the model had looked or at the other side. Infants at both ages looked longer at the empty location when it had been indicated by the model's looking behaviour, and this effect held up even when their first look after gaze following was discounted. This result demonstrates that even young infants hold referential expectations when they follow others' gaze and infer the location of hidden objects accordingly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

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AB - Infants' apparent failure in gaze-following tasks is often interpreted as a sign of lack of understanding the referential nature of looking. In the present study, 8- and 12-month-old infants followed the gaze of a model to one of two locations hidden from their view by occluders. When the occluders were removed, an object was revealed either at the location where the model had looked or at the other side. Infants at both ages looked longer at the empty location when it had been indicated by the model's looking behaviour, and this effect held up even when their first look after gaze following was discounted. This result demonstrates that even young infants hold referential expectations when they follow others' gaze and infer the location of hidden objects accordingly.

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