12-Month-Old Infants' Perception of Attention Direction in Static Video Images


Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Box 1225, S-75142, Uppsala, Sweden. E-mail: claes.von_hofsten@psyk.uu.se


Twelve-month-old infants' ability to perceive gaze direction in static video images was investigated. The images showed a woman who performed attention-directing actions by looking or pointing toward 1 of 4 objects positioned in front of her (2 on each side). When the model just pointed at the objects, she looked straight ahead, and when she just looked, her hands were hidden below the tabletop. An eye movement system (TOBII) was used to register the gaze of the participants. We found that the infants clearly discriminated the gaze directions to the objects. There was no tendency to mix up the 2 object positions, located 10° apart, on the same side of the model. The infants spent more time looking at the attended objects than the unattended ones and they shifted gaze more often from the face of the model to the attended object than to the unattended objects. Pointing did not significantly increase the infants' tendency to move gaze to the attended object, irrespective of whether the pointing gesture was accompanied by looking or not. In all conditions the infants spent most of the time looking at the model's face. This tendency was especially noticeable in the pointing-only condition and the condition where the model just looked straight ahead.