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Social PerceptionDetection and Interpretation of Animacy, Agency, and Intention$
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M.D. Rutherford and Valerie A. Kuhlmeier

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262019279

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019279.001.0001

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Human Action Perception across Development

Human Action Perception across Development

(p.351) 15 Human Action Perception across Development
Social Perception

Jeff Loucks

Jessica Sommerville

The MIT Press

What do we pay attention to when we view other people’s actions? How does such attention change over the course of development? In this chapter, we will discuss developmental changes in infants’ attention during action perception—changes that shift their attention from being initially undifferentiated to being selectively focused. This perceptual tuning process is tied to infants’ development of motor abilities and also supports a functional analysis of other people’s behavior. Importantly, attention during action perception following the tuning is not rigid and fixed, but is instead selective and flexible. These attributes aid in predicting other people’s actions and action outcomes, thereby increasing the power and efficiency of action perception for infants’ broader social-cognitive development.

Keywords:   Infant social perception, Action perception, Perceptual tuning

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