Infants' perseverative search errors are induced by pragmatic misinterpretation

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112 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Having repeatedly retrieved an object from a location, human infants tend to search the same place even when they observe the object being hidden at another location. This perseverative error is usually explained by infants' inability to inhibit a previously rewarded search response or to recall the new location. We show that the tendency to commit this error is substantially reduced (from 81 to 41%) when the object is hidden in front of 10-month-old infants without the experimenter using the communicative cues that normally accompany object hiding in this task. We suggest that this improvement is due to an interpretive bias that normally helps infants learn from demonstrations but misleads themin the context of a hiding game. Our finding provides an alternative theoretical perspective on the nature of infants' perseverative search errors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1831-1834
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume321
Issue number5897
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 26 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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