Document Detail

Young infants' reasoning about physical events involving inert and self-propelled objects.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19232579     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The present research examined whether 5- to 6.5-month-old infants would hold different expectations about various physical events involving a box after receiving evidence that it was either inert or self-propelled. Infants were surprised if the inert but not the self-propelled box: reversed direction spontaneously (Experiment 1); remained stationary when hit or pulled (Experiments 3 and 3A); remained stable when released in midair or with inadequate support from a platform (Experiment 4); or disappeared when briefly hidden by one of two adjacent screens (the second screen provided the self-propelled box with an alternative hiding place; Experiment 5). On the other hand, infants were surprised if the inert or the self-propelled box appeared to pass through an obstacle (Experiment 2) or disappeared when briefly hidden by a single screen (Experiment 5). The present results indicate that infants as young as 5 months of age distinguish between inert and self-propelled objects and hold different expectations for physical events involving these objects, even when incidental differences between the objects are controlled. These findings are consistent with the proposal by Gelman, R. (1990). First principles organize attention to and learning about relevant data: Number and the animate-inanimate distinction as examples. Cognitive Science, 14, 79-106, Leslie, A. M. (1994). ToMM, ToBY, and Agency: Core architecture and domain specificity. In L. A. Hirschfeld & S. A. Gelman (Eds.), Mapping the mind: Domain specificity in cognition and culture (pp. 119-148). New York: Cambridge University Press, and others that infants endow self-propelled objects with an internal source of energy. Possible links between infants' concepts of self-propelled object, agent, and animal are also discussed.
Yuyan Luo; Lisa Kaufman; Renée Baillargeon
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2009-02-20
Journal Detail:
Title:  Cognitive psychology     Volume:  58     ISSN:  1095-5623     ISO Abbreviation:  Cogn Psychol     Publication Date:  2009 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-04-20     Completed Date:  2009-08-04     Revised Date:  2014-09-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0241111     Medline TA:  Cogn Psychol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  441-86     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Attention / physiology*
Discrimination Learning / physiology*
Infant Behavior / physiology,  psychology*
Motion Perception / physiology*
Psychomotor Performance / physiology
Space Perception / physiology
Visual Perception / physiology*
Grant Support

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