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Title:Infants' Understanding of Goal Directed Behavior
Author(s):Onishi, Kristine H.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bock, Kathryn
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Developmental
Abstract:As adults, we interpret the actions of others as directed towards goals and we use that goal information to help make sense of others' actions. Infants as young as 5 months of age understand some of the repeated actions of others as directed toward the goal of obtaining a specific object (Woodward, 1998). What are some of the limitations on infants' ability to attribute goals to the actions of others? The current experiments demonstrate that by 10.5 months of age, infants understand that there is flexibility in how goals may be achieved---they were able to encode a toy sought by an actor as her goal object, even when it was obtained by different means on different trials. Slightly older 14-month-old infants understood the flexibility of goals along a different dimension; they were able to keep track of the separate goals of different actors. Given that infants were able to detect the goals of others under a variety of circumstances, would infants also be able to incorporate others' beliefs when making sense of their behavior? 15-month-old infants were found to succeed at versions of both true and false belief tasks; when a toy changed locations and an actor reached for the toy in its new location, infants looked longer when the actor had not than when she had observed the change of location. These results may be accounted for by a framework in which infants build psychological representations for predicting the actions of others. Initially, the representation includes the goal the actor is trying to attain and the physical situation in which the action occurs. With age (and/or experience) infants include additional contextual information into their psychological representations, allowing for more accurate prediction of others' actions.
Issue Date:2004
Description:87 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3153390
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2004

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