Social elements are not a must for preverbal infants’ learning in an interactive event

Abstract

Hamlin et al. (2007, 2010, 2011) showed that preverbal infants exhibit preference for animated figures in social events, and Chow, Tsui & Tseng (2011) demonstrated that infants can successfully associate visual (e.g. shape, color, and motion) cues with emotional cues (e.g. crying and laughing) which could be a prerequisite for making this social judgment. The current study examined whether infants’ ability of associated learning in complex sequences is limited to social-related situations only. After removing all socially relevant cues (eyes, facial expression, crying or laughing) from learning stimuli, we found 8 to 10-month-old infants could still associate agents with motion and neutral auditory outcomes. We also found the shape/color of a figure to be a more salient factor than the movement of the figure. We conclude that associated learning in animated interaction is not limited to specific social contexts in preverbal infants.


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