The early origins of goal attribution in infancy

Ildikó Király, Bianca Jovanovic, Wolfgang Prinz, Gisa Aschersleben, Gy. Gergely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

126 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We contrast two positions concerning the initial domain of actions that infants interpret as goal-directed. The 'narrow scope' view holds that goal-attribution in 6- and 9-month-olds is restricted to highly familiar actions (such as grasping) (Woodward, Sommerville, & Guajardo, 2001). The cue-based approach of the infant's 'teleological stance' (Gergely & Csibra, 2003), however, predicts that if the cues of equifinal variation of action and a salient action effect are present, young infants can attribute goals to a 'wide scope' of entities including unfamiliar human actions and actions of novel objects lacking human features. It is argued that previous failures to show goal-attribution to unfamiliar actions were due to the absence of these cues. We report a modified replication of Woodward (1999) showing that when a salient action-effect is presented, even young infants can attribute a goal to an unfamiliar manual action. This study together with other recent experiments reviewed support the 'wide scope' approach indicating that if the cues of goal-directedness are present even 6-month-olds attribute goals to unfamiliar actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-769
Number of pages18
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Cite this

The early origins of goal attribution in infancy. / Király, Ildikó; Jovanovic, Bianca; Prinz, Wolfgang; Aschersleben, Gisa; Gergely, Gy.

In: Consciousness and Cognition, Vol. 12, No. 4, 12.2003, p. 752-769.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Király, I, Jovanovic, B, Prinz, W, Aschersleben, G & Gergely, G 2003, 'The early origins of goal attribution in infancy', Consciousness and Cognition, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 752-769. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1053-8100(03)00084-9
Király, Ildikó ; Jovanovic, Bianca ; Prinz, Wolfgang ; Aschersleben, Gisa ; Gergely, Gy. / The early origins of goal attribution in infancy. In: Consciousness and Cognition. 2003 ; Vol. 12, No. 4. pp. 752-769.
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