Attribution of dispositional states by 12-month-olds

Psychol Sci. 2003 Sep;14(5):402-8. doi: 10.1111/1467-9280.01454.


The ability to interpret the behavior of other individuals is essential for effective social functioning. Many investigators now believe that even young infants can recognize that agents act toward goals. Here we report three experiments suggesting that 12-month-old infants not only can recognize goal-related action, but also can interpret future actions of an actor on the basis of previously witnessed behavior in another context. The possibility that this inference is made through the attribution of mental states is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Motion Perception*
  • Orientation
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Problem Solving
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Social Behavior*