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Infants prefer motionese to adult-directed action


Address for correspondence: Rebecca J. Brand, Department of Psychology, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Ave., Villanova, PA 19085, USA; e-mail:


In two studies, we investigated infants’ preference for infant-directed (ID) action or ‘motionese’ (Brand, Baldwin & Ashburn, 2002) relative to adult-directed (AD) action. In Study 1, full-featured videos were shown to 32 6- to 8-month-olds, who demonstrated a strong preference for ID action. In Study 2, infants at 6–8 months (n= 28) and 11–13 months (n= 24) were shown either standard ID and AD clips, or clips in which demonstrators’ faces were blurred to obscure emotional and eye-gaze information. Across both ages, infants showed evidence of preferring ID to AD action, even when faces were blurred. Infants did not have a preference for still-frame images of the demonstrators, indicating that the ID preference arose from action characteristics, not demonstrators’ general appearance. These results suggest that motionese enhances infants’ attention to action, possibly supporting infants’ learning.

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