Active Experience Shapes 10-Month-Old Infants’ Understanding of Collaborative Goals

Authors


should be sent to Dr. Annette M. E. Henderson, 10 Symonds St, HSB Building, Department of Psychology, The University of Auckland, 1142, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand. E-mail: a.henderson@auckland.ac.nz

Abstract

Collaborative activities in which individuals coordinate their actions to attain a common goal play a fundamental role in our everyday lives. Evidence suggests that infants engage in collaborative activities before their first birthday; however, little is known about infants’ understanding of collaborative action. Using a visual habituation paradigm, this research consists of two experiments designed to investigate whether 10-month-olds understand that the actions of collaborative partners are critical to the attainment of a common goal. The results of Experiment 1 suggest that 10-month-olds represent the actions of collaborating partners in terms of a common collaborative goal only after receiving active experience with a collaborative activity. Experiment 2 demonstrated that infants who received active experience with a collaborative activity viewed active engagement in a collaboration as being critical for an individual’s actions to be interpreted as being directed towards a collaborative goal. Together, these findings demonstrate that 10-month-olds exhibit an understanding of the shared nature of collaborative goals after a highly salient experience with the activity. Identifying the effects of experience on infants’ understanding of collaborative goals in a laboratory context provides insights into the role that experiences in their everyday lives might play in their understanding of collaboration.

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