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Alexis Barton, Bennett Bertenthal; Infants differentially anticipate the goals of ipsilateral and contralateral reaches. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):283. doi: 10.1167/13.9.283.
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When adults observe their own goal-directed actions or those of others, they anticipate the goal before it is completed. Some researchers hypothesize that the prediction of goal-directed actions is facilitated by the activation of corresponding motor representations. If this hypothesis is correct, then the development of predictive looking toward the goal should covary with the development of the corresponding motor representation. This question is addressed in the current study by comparing the observation of ipsilateral reaches to the later developing contralateral reaches. Forty infants (age 6-12 mo) were tested in a gaze-contingent paradigm. This paradigm is more engaging and rewarding for infants resulting in a greater number of scoreable trials. Infants contributed an average of 48 trials to analysis. Each trial began with an actress drumming her fingers on a table to attract the infant’s attention to her hands, and then she reached either ipsilaterally or contralaterally to lift a lid and reveal an animated reinforcer. The infant’s gaze was recorded on a Tobii TX 300 eyetracker and classified as a predictive look if the gaze of the infant arrived at the AOI associated with the correct lid before the actor’s hand. The results revealed that infants made predictive looks on a greater proportion of trials for ipsilateral than contralateral reaches. Infants were also much more likely to incorrectly predict an ipsilateral target location during a contralateral reach than vice versa. Addtitional measures such as earlier fixation latency and longer saccade lengths supported an ipsilateral bias in prediction. These differences were weakly present at 6 months and became more significant through 12 months. This ipsilateral bias suggests that experience with goal directed reach facilitates the prediction of another’s reach.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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