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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 26-Jun-09

 


Friday 26-June-09

Starting to read minds

One of the things we do as humans is try to read the minds of others. Although we are not always as good at it as we think we are, we still can be surprisingly accurate. We make much use this 'theory of mind' when deciding on what we will say and do (and in doing so build a workable society).

So when do we start to read other people's minds? Researchers Amanda Brandone and Henry Wellman investigated 8+ month-old babies' assessment of the intent of others by watching the attention the babies paid to several prefabricated situations.

They first showed the babies videos of a person reaching for a ball in different ways (one way per baby) and with varying success at grasping the ball. They then showed them other videos of babies reaching for a ball. The babies paid most attention to the videos where the person was reaching in the same way as they had seen before.

The implication is that babies as young as 8 months can understand intent, indicating a remarkable sophistication from an early age.


Reference: Brandone, A.C. and Wellman, H. (2009). You Can't Always Get What You Want: Infants Understand Failed Goal-Directed Actions. Psychological Science, 20 (1), 85-91.


Your comments


 An insightful post. Will definitely help.

Thanks,
Karim


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