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.
Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences