Infants engage in social interactions that include multiple partners from very early in development. A growing body of research shows that infants visually predict the outcomes of an individual's intentional actions, such as a person reaching towards an object (e.g., Krogh-Jespersen & Woodward, 2014), and even show sophistication in their predictions regarding failed actions (e.g., Brandone, Horwitz, Aslin, & Wellman, 2014). Less is known about infants’ understanding of actions involving more than one individual (e.g., collaborative actions), which require representing each partners’ actions in light of the shared goal. Using eye-tracking, Study 1 examined whether 14-month-old infants visually predict the actions of an individual based on her previously shared goal. Infants viewed videos of two women engaged in either a collaborative or noncollaborative interaction. At test, only one woman was present and infants’ visual predictions regarding her future actions were measured. Fourteen-month-olds anticipated an individual's future actions based on her past collaborative behavior. Study 2 revealed that 11-month-old infants only visually predict higher-order shared goals after engaging in a collaborative intervention. Together, our results indicate that by the second year after birth, infants perceive others’ collaborative actions as structured by shared goals and that active engagement in collaboration strengthens this understanding in young infants.
- Goal understanding
- Social cognition
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology