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Volume 10 Issue 5 (September 2007), Pages 513-711

The attribution of attention: 9‐month‐olds’ interpretation of gaze as goal‐directed action (pages 530-537)


The current study distinguishes between attributions of goal‐directed perception (i.e. attention) and non‐goal‐directed perception to examine 9‐month‐olds’ interpretation of others’ head and eye turns. In a looking time task, 9‐month‐olds encoded the relationship between an actor's head and eye turns and a target object if the head and eye turns were embedded in a sequence of multiple, variable actions with equifinal outcomes, but not otherwise. This evidence supports the claim that infants of this age may attribute perception, at least goal‐directed perception, to others and undermines arguments that gaze‐following at this age consists only of uninterpreted reflexes. The evidence also suggests alternative interpretations of the typical errors infants make in standard gaze‐following procedures. Implications for infants’ understanding of perception and attention in both human and non‐human agents are discussed.

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