By 14 months, infants have become exquisite observers of others' behavior and successful word learners. But do they coordinate their early observational and language capacities to gain insight into the intentions of others? Building upon Gergely, Bekkering, and Király's (2002) classic head-touch phenomenon, we consider the contribution of language to 14-month-old infants' imitation of an unconventional behavior (turning on a light with one's forehead, rather than hand). Providing a novel word ("I'm going to blick the light!") prompted infants to imitate; simply drawing attention to the action ("Look at this!"; "Look at what I'm doing!") did not. Thus, by 14 months, infants gain insight into the intentions of others by considering not only what we do but also what we say.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies