Ildiko Kiraly, Eötvös Loránd University
November 3 2014, 11h Salle de réunion du LPP, H432
Deeply social learning in infancy
In the first part of my talk I would like to introduce the recent development of the so called head touch task, and relatedly, the theory of 'rational imitation'. I would like to highlight that research has confirmed that early imitative learning is a selective, non-automatic, and inference-guided process (Gergely et al., 2002).
My aim is to defend the natural pedagogy view of selective imitation against the recent challenge of low-level interpretations (Paulus et al, 2011, 2013, Beisert et al., 2012) on empirical grounds. Three novel, modified versions of the head touch task (that are close to two of the Paulus et al.’s procedure) generates contrary predictions from the perspective of the motor resonance account and the natural pedagogy account. The results of the modified paradigms provide support for the inferential relevance and rationality-sensitive account of selective imitation
In the second part of the talk I plan to introduce a novel approach on how young infants understand other's preferential choices and perspectives in order to interpret their actions. The standard interpretation in the field is that infants understand preferential choice as a dispositional state of the agent. It is possible, however, that these social situations trigger the acquisition of more general, not person-specific knowledge. In a series of studies we showed that (1) infants do not encode the perspectives of other agents as person-specific sources of knowledge and (2) they learn about the object, rather than the agent’s disposition towards that object. We propose that early theory of mind processes lack the binding of belief content to the belief holder. However, such limitation may in fact serve an important function, allowing infants to acquire information through the perspectives of others in the form of universal access to general information