Paper - Triadic interactions support infants’ emerging understanding of intentional actions

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  • The studies presented aim to provide evidence that triadic interactions (baby, toy, another person -> other person reaches for the toy) positively influence their understanding of intentional actions
  • Triadic interactions are one of two way in which this understanding is furthered, the other factor is first-person experiences (baby reaches for the toy)
  • A temporal link was already shown, with triadic engagement and intention-understanding both appearing near the end of the first year. Previous studies have shown correlational evidence, this study aims to identify the causal direction.
  • To measure the independant variable (triadic engagement), gaze alternations between an object, the experimenter's face, and the same object were measured. (Dyadic engagement was differentiated by measuring the frequency of gazes to the experimenters face outside of triadic engagements)
    • Standardized play sessions were video recorded and later reviewed by researches, gazes were counted
  • The dependent variable (understanding of intentional actions) was measured by checking if the infant looked to the goal of the action before completion. This data was collected with eye tracking technology.
    • Two variables were measured : How many of the gaze shifts were anticapatory? and What was the mean latency of gaze shifts to the area of interst
  • The reasearchers chose to mainly use failed actions for measuring (hand cannot find object).
  • Study 1 was a concurrent correlational design at a single point in time with 8-9 month old participants, which produced evidence for the link between triadic engagement and action anticipation. (age, gender, and dyadic engagement did not emerge as significant preditors)
  • Study 2 was a cross-lagged longitudal design that managed to provide the first longitual evidence for the hypothesis. (Intentional action understanding at 6 months old did not predict later triadic engagement.)
  • This link may be interpreted as causal, however an experimental design would be necessary to make strong claims here.