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 Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>