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Action production influences 12-month-old infants’ attention to others’ actions


  • This work was conducted when E. Cannon, A. Woodward and C. Turek were in the Psychology Department at the University of Maryland.

Erin Cannon, Department of Human Development, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA; e-mail:


Recent work implicates a link between action control systems and action understanding. In this study, we investigated the role of the motor system in the development of visual anticipation of others’ actions. Twelve-month-olds engaged in behavioral and observation tasks. Containment activity, infants’ spontaneous engagement in producing containment actions; and gaze latency, how quickly they shifted gaze to the goal object of another’s containment actions, were measured. Findings revealed a positive relationship: infants who received the behavior task first evidenced a strong correlation between their own actions and their subsequent gaze latency of another’s actions. Learning over the course of trials was not evident. These findings demonstrate a direct influence of the motor system on online visual attention to others’ actions early in development.