Jessica A. Sommerville

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The abilities to identify with others and to distinguish between self and other play a pivotal role in intersubjective transactions. Here, we marshall evidence from developmental science, social psychology and neuroscience (including clinical neuropsychology) that support the view of a common representation network (both at the computational and neural(More)
An intervention facilitated 3-month-old infants' apprehension of objects either prior to (reach first), or after (watch first) viewing another person grasp similar objects in a visual habituation procedure. Action experience facilitated action perception: reach-first infants focused on the relation between the actor and her goal, but watch-first infants did(More)
Three studies investigated children's belief in causal determinism. If children are determinists, they should infer unobserved causes whenever observed causes appear to act stochastically. In Experiment 1, 4-year-olds saw a stochastic generative cause and inferred the existence of an unobserved inhibitory cause. Children traded off inferences about the(More)
Cooperation and competition are two basic modes of social cognition that necessitate monitoring of both one's own and others' actions, as well as adopting a specific mental set. In this fMRI, study individuals played a specially designed computer game, according to a set of predefined rules, either in cooperation with or in competition against another(More)
Prior work suggests that active experience affects infants' understanding of simple actions. The present studies compared the impact of active and observational experience on infants' ability to identify the goal of a novel tool-use event. Infants either received active training and practice in using a cane to retrieve an out-of-reach toy or had matched(More)
Adults and children readily construct action representations organized with respect to an ultimate goal. These representations allow one to predict the consequences of action, interpret and describe actions, and categorize action sequences. In this paper, we explore the ontogeny of hierarchically organized action representations, and its relation to(More)
Two experiments assessed infants' understanding that actions that occur in sequence may be related to an overarching goal. Experiment 1 tested whether embedding an ambiguous action (touching the lid of a box) in a sequence that culminated with an action infants readily construe as goal-directed (grasping a toy inside the box) would alter infants' construal(More)
Human cooperation is a key driving force behind the evolutionary success of our hominin lineage. At the proximate level, biologists and social scientists have identified other-regarding preferences--such as fairness based on egalitarian motives, and altruism--as likely candidates for fostering large-scale cooperation. A critical question concerns the(More)
The development of speech perception during the 1st year reflects increasing attunement to native language features, but the mechanisms underlying this development are not completely understood. One previous study linked reductions in nonnative speech discrimination to performance on nonlinguistic tasks, whereas other studies have shown associations between(More)
For adults, prior information about an individual's likely goals, preferences or dispositions plays a powerful role in interpreting ambiguous behavior and predicting and interpreting behavior in novel contexts. Across two studies, we investigated whether 10-month-old infants' ability to identify the goal of an ambiguous action sequence was facilitated by(More)