Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Infants predict other people´s action goals

19.06.2006
One-year-old children can understand other peoples action goals in exactly the same way as adults do. These results, published in Nature Neuroscience, radically change our view on the development of social communication.

When and how do infants come to understand other people's actions? Understanding others is crucial for social development because it allows the young child to coordinate its own actions with those of others, learn new actions from them, and understand their motives and intentions.

Evidence from neuroscience suggest that the understanding of other people's actions is accomplished by a mirror neuron system that maps the observed actions onto the observer's motor systems, that is, other people's actions are understood in terms of one's own actions. In line with this, adults fixate the goal of an observed action ahead of time in the same way as they fixate the goals of actions performed by themselves.

Do infants also understand the actions of others in this fashion? We found solid evidence for such competences in 12-month-old infants. When they observed a person moving an object between two positions, they moved their gaze to the goal position before the hand arrived there with the object. Six-month-olds, who cannot perform this kind of tasks, did not move their gaze to the goal ahead of time under these conditions.

Instead, they tracked the action with their eyes and arrived at the goal after the action had been completed, indicating poor understanding of the observed action. Furthermore, when presented with objects that moved by themselves, neither 12-months-olds nor adults predicted the goal of the movements.

Our study supports the hypothesis that infants understand other people's actions by a mirror system that maps the observed actions onto their own action system. Furthermore, it shows that such understanding develops during the second half of the first year of life. These findings have dramatic implications for how we conceptualize the development of social communication and competences, like imitation, language and empathy.

Anneli Waara | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/neuro/index.html
http://www.uu.se

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

nachricht Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Polymers Based on Boron?

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

World’s oldest known oxygen oasis discovered

18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>