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Infant Behav Dev. 2014 Feb;37(1):119-29. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2013.12.005. Epub 2014 Jan 31.

Infants' ability to associate motion paths with object kinds.

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  • 1Concordia University, Montréal, Québec, Canada H4B 1R6. Electronic address:
  • 2Concordia University, Montréal, Québec, Canada H4B 1R6.


The goal of the present research was to examine whether infants associate different paths of motion with animate beings and inanimate objects. An infant-controlled habituation procedure was used to examine 10-20-month-old infants' ability to associate a non-linear motion path (jumping) with animals and a linear (rebounding) motion path with vehicles (Experiment 1) and furniture (Experiment 2). During the habituation phase, infants saw a dog jumping over a barrier and either a vehicle or a piece of furniture rebounding off the barrier. In the test phase, infants looked longer when another inanimate object jumped rather than rebounded, but showed no such differential looking in the case of another animate object. The ability to restrict the animate motion path of jumping to animate beings was present by 10 months of age. The present findings support the hypothesis that motion path is associated with the animate-inanimate distinction early in infancy.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Animacy; Categorization; Cognitive development; Habituation; Infants; Motion

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