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1.  Can 9.5-month-old infants attribute to an agent a disposition to perform a particular action on objects? 
Acta Psychologica  2006;124(1):79-105.
The present research examined whether 9.5-month-old infants can attribute to an agent a disposition to perform a particular action on objects, and can then use this disposition to predict which of two new objects—one that can be used to perform the action and one that cannot—the agent is likely to reach for next. The infants first received familiarization trials in which they watched an agent slide either three (Experiments 1 and 3) or six (Experiment 2) different objects forward and backward on an apparatus floor. During test, the infants saw two new identical objects placed side by side: one stood inside a short frame that left little room for sliding, and the other stood inside a longer frame that left ample room for sliding. The infants who saw the agent slide six different objects attributed to her a disposition to slide objects: they expected her to select the “slidable” as opposed to the “unslidable” test object, and they looked reliably longer when she did not. In contrast, the infants who saw the agent slide only three different objects looked about equally when she selected either test object. These results add to recent evidence that infants in the first year of life can attribute dispositions to agents, and can use these dispositions to help predict agents’ actions in new contexts.
PMCID: PMC3357326  PMID: 17092476
Infant cognition; Disposition; Action comprehension; Psychological reasoning
2.  15-month-old infants detect violations in pretend scenarios 
Acta Psychologica  2006;124(1):106-128.
Are 15-month-old infants able to detect a violation in the consistency of an event sequence that involves pretense? In Experiment 1, infants detected a violation when an actor pretended to pour liquid into one cup and then pretended to drink from another cup. In Experiment 2, infants no longer detected a violation when the cups were replaced with objects not typically used in the context of drinking actions, either shoes or tubes. Experiment 3 showed that infants’ difficulty in Experiment 2 was not due to the use of atypical objects per se, but arose from the novelty of seeing an actor appearing to drink from these objects. After receiving a single familiarization trial in which they observed the actor pretend to drink from either a shoe or a tube, infants now detected a violation when the actor pretended to pour into and to drink from different shoes or tubes. Thus, at an age (or just before the age) when infants are beginning to engage in pretend play, they are able to show comprehension of at least one aspect of pretense in a violation-of-expectation task: specifically, they are able to detect violations in the consistency of pretend action sequences.
PMCID: PMC3351386  PMID: 17107649
Cognitive development; Infancy; Pretense comprehension; Theory of mind
3.  The ‘like me’ framework for recognizing and becoming an intentional agent 
Acta psychologica  2006;124(1):26-43.
Infant imitation demonstrates that the perception and production of human action are closely linked by a ‘supramodal’ representation of action. This action representation unites observation and execution into a common framework, and it has far-reaching implications for the development of social cognition. It allows infants to see the behaviors of others as commensurate with their own—as ‘like me.’ Based on the ‘like me’ perception of others, social encounters are interpretable and informative. Infants can use themselves as a framework for understanding others and can learn about the possibilities and consequences of their own potential acts by observing the behavior of others. Through social interaction with other intentional agents who are viewed as ‘like me,’ infants develop a richer social cognition. This paper explores the early manifestations and cascading developmental effects of the ‘like me’ conception.
PMCID: PMC1852490  PMID: 17081488
Imitation; Action representation; Intention; Cross-modal; Body representation; Mirror neurons

Results 1-3 (3)