Developmental and computational perspectives on infant social cognition


Adults effortlessly and automatically infer complex pat- terns of goals, beliefs, and other mental states as the causes of others’ actions. Yet before the last decade little was known about the developmental origins of these abilities in early infancy. Our understanding of infant social cognition has now improved dramatically: even preverbal infants appear to perceive goals, preferences (Kushnir, Xu, & Wellman, in press), and even beliefs from sparse observations of inten- tional agents’ behavior. Furthermore, they use these infer- ences to predict others’ behavior in novel contexts and to make social evaluations (Hamlin, Wynn, & Bloom, 2007).

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