Infants predict other people's action goals

  title={Infants predict other people's action goals},
  author={Terje Falck-Ytter and Gustaf Gredeb{\"a}ck and Claes von Hofsten},
  journal={Nature Neuroscience},
Do infants come to understand other people's actions through a mirror neuron system that maps an observed action onto motor representations of that action? We demonstrate that a specialized system for action perception guides proactive goal-directed eye movements in 12-month-old but not in 6-month-old infants, providing direct support for this view. The activation of this system requires observing an interaction between the hand of the agent and an object. 
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A positive relationship was revealed: infants who received the behavior task first evidenced a strong correlation between their own actions and their subsequent gaze latency of another's actions, demonstrating a direct influence of the motor system on online visual attention to others' actions early in development.
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The findings indicate that the ability to predict others' action goals requires a corresponding motor ability, providing ontogenetic evidence for a direct matching process by a mirror neuron system.


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