Infant social attention predicts preschool social cognition


Henry Wellman, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, 300 N. Ingalls, 10th Floor, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0406, USA; e-mail:


Recent research examining infants’ understanding of intentional action claims to be studying the early origins or precursors of children's later theories of mind. If these infant understandings are continuous with later preschool achievements, there should be empirical connections between the two. We provide initial evidence that infants’ social attention predicts later social cognition. Specifically, 14-month-olds’ habituation to human intentional action significantly predicts later preschool mentalistic construal of persons, as measured on a Theory of Mind Scale.