Does causal action facilitate causal perception in infants younger than 6 months of age?
Article first published online: 28 OCT 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 15, Issue 1, pages 43–53, January 2012
How to Cite
Rakison, D. H. and Krogh, L. (2012), Does causal action facilitate causal perception in infants younger than 6 months of age?. Developmental Science, 15: 43–53. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2011.01096.x
- Issue published online: 17 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 28 OCT 2011
- Received: 18 May 2010 Accepted: 29 June 2011
Previous research has established that infants are unable to perceive causality until 6¼ months of age. The current experiments examined whether infants’ ability to engage in causal action could facilitate causal perception prior to this age. In Experiment 1, 4½-month-olds were randomly assigned to engage in causal action experience via Velcro sticky mittens or not engage in causal action because they wore non-sticky mittens. Both groups were then tested in the visual habituation paradigm to assess their causal perception. Infants who engaged in causal action – but not those without this causal action experience – perceived the habituation events as causal. Experiment 2 used a similar design to establish that 4½-month-olds are unable to generalize their own causal action to causality observed in dissimilar objects. These data are the first to demonstrate that infants under 6 months of age can perceive causality, and have implications for the mechanisms underlying the development of causal perception.