One-year-olds warn others about negative action outcomes
SourceJournal of Cognition and Development, 14, 3, (2013), pp. 424-436
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
Journal of Cognition and Development
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 2: Perception, Action and Control
Warning others is a paradigm case of communicative helping and prospective action understanding. The current study addressed the ontogeny of warning in infants' gestural communication. We found that 12- and 18-month-olds (n = 84) spontaneously warned an adult by pointing out to her an aversive object hidden in her way (problem condition). In control conditions, the object was either positive (no-problem condition) or the adult had witnessed its placing (problem-known condition), which resulted in significantly less pointing. Results show that infants intervene spontaneously to help others avoid a problem before it has occurred. These acts of warning entail an understanding of negatively defined goals (to avoid an outcome) and incorrect representations of reality. Findings support theories of altruism and social–pragmatic competencies in infancy.
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