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Evidence for a unitary goal concept in 12-month-old infants


Szilvia Biro, Cognitive Psychology Section, Leiden University, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden, The Netherlands; e-mail:


We investigated whether infants can transfer their goal attribution between situations that contain different types of information about the goal. We found that 12-month-olds who had attributed a goal based on the causal efficacy of a means–end action generated expectations about the actor’s action in another scenario in which the actor could choose between alternative outcomes. This finding suggests that, by 12 months, infants possess a unitary concept of goal.