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Abstract

The present study applied a preferential looking paradigm to test whether 6- and 9-month old infants are able to infer the size of a goal object from an actor's grasping movement. The target object was a cup with the handle rotated either towards or away from the actor. In two experiments, infants saw the video of an actor's grasping movement towards an occluded target object. The aperture size of the actor's hand was varied as between-subjects factor. Subsequently, two final states of the grasping movement were presented simultaneously with the occluder being removed. In Experiment 1, the expected final state showed the actor's hand holding a cup in a way that would be expected after the performed grasping movement. In the unexpected final state, the actor's hand held the cup at the side which would be unexpected after the performed grasping movement. Results show that 6- as well as 9-month-olds looked longer at the unexpected than at the expected final state. Experiment 2 excluded an alternative explanation of these findings, namely that the discrimination of the final states was due to geometrical familiarity or novelty of the final states. These findings provide evidence that infants are able to infer the size of a goal object from the aperture size of the actor's hand during the grasp.