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Causal CognitionA Multidisciplinary Debate$
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Dan Sperber, David Premack, and Ann James Premack

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524021

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524021.001.0001

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Infants’ knowledge of object motion and human action

Infants’ knowledge of object motion and human action

Chapter:
(p.44) 3 Infants’ knowledge of object motion and human action
Source:
Causal Cognition
Author(s):

Elizabeth S. Spelke

Ann Phillips

Amanda L. Woodward

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524021.003.0003

This chapter demonstrates that infants have a set of innate beliefs concerning the basic properties of a physical object. It begins by reviewing the methods and findings of studies of infants' reasoning about inanimate object motion. Because human action appears to violate some of the constraints on inanimate objects, this chapter asks whether infants are sensitive to violations of constraints on objects by considering briefly how they reason about shadows. Finally, it discusses infants' reasoning about human action. It describes a study investigating whether infants understand that human action cannot be predicted solely on the basis of mechanical considerations. It then turns to the literature on social interaction and communication in infancy as a source of suggestions concerning infants' positive knowledge of human action.

Keywords:   infants, inanimate object motion, human action, inanimate objects, shadows

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