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Learning From Their Own Actions: The Unique Effect of Producing Actions on Infants' Action Understanding


  • First and foremost, we thank all of the families that participated in this research. We are also grateful to Laurie Eisenband, Neha Mahajan, Erin Cannon, and the many undergraduate students and high school interns who provided support for this project at the Maryland Infant Studies Laboratory. This work was funded by two grants to the second author (R01 HD35707 and P01HD064653).


Prior research suggests that infants' action production affects their action understanding, but little is known about the aspects of motor experience that render these effects. In Study 1, the relative contributions of self-produced (= 30) and observational (= 30) action experience on 3-month-old infants' action understanding was assessed using a visual habituation paradigm. In Study 2, generalization of training to a new context was examined (= 30). Results revealed a unique effect of active over observational experience. Furthermore, findings suggest that benefits of trained actions do not generalize broadly, at least following brief training.

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