Publication Details

Koch, F., Sundqvist, A., Herbert, J., Tjus, T. & Heimann, M. (2018). Changes in infant visual attention when observing repeated actions. Infant Behavior and Development, 50 189-197.


2018 Elsevier Inc. Infants' early visual preferences for faces, and their observational learning abilities, are well-established in the literature. The current study examines how infants' attention changes as they become increasingly familiar with a person and the actions that person is demonstrating. The looking patterns of 12- (n = 61) and 16-month-old infants (n = 29) were tracked while they watched videos of an adult presenting novel actions with four different objects three times. A face-to-action ratio in visual attention was calculated for each repetition and summarized as a mean across all videos. The face-to-action ratio increased with each action repetition, indicating that there was an increase in attention to the face relative to the action each additional time the action was demonstrated. Infant's prior familiarity with the object used was related to face-to-action ratio in 12-month-olds and initial looking behavior was related to face-to-action ratio in the whole sample. Prior familiarity with the presenter, and infant gender and age, were not related to face-to-action ratio. This study has theoretical implications for face preference and action observations in dynamic contexts.

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