8-month-olds Know Which Face is Reliable


By 8 months of age, infants use statistical regularities and perceptual cues to orient attention (e.g. Kirkham et al., 2007; Wu & Kirkham, 2010). However, it is unclear whether infants are sensitive to the reliability of individual attentional cues. In this eye-tracking study, 8-month-olds were familiarized with a reliable face, which always looked to a box where an animation appeared, and an unreliable face, which looked only 25% of the time to the box containing the animation. At test, when the animations did not appear, infants searched longer in the corner cued by the reliable face, but did not search longer in the corner cued by the unreliable face. These results suggest that even young infants can track the the reliability of potential informants and use this information to distribute attention in support of early learning.

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