Using social information to guide action: Infants' locomotion over slippery slopes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In uncertain situations such as descending challenging slopes, social signals from caregivers can provide infants with important information for guiding action. Previous work showed that 18-month-old walking infants use social information selectively, only when risk of falling is uncertain. Experiment 1 was designed to alter infants' region of uncertainty for walking down slopes. Slippery Teflon-soled shoes drastically impaired 18-month-olds' ability to walk down slopes compared with walking barefoot or in standard crepe-soled shoes, shifting the region of uncertainty to a shallower range of slopes. In Experiment 2, infants wore Teflon-soled shoes while walking down slopes as their mothers encouraged and discouraged them from walking. Infants relied on social information on shallow slopes, even at 0≥, where the probability of walking successfully was uncertain in the Teflon-soled shoes. Findings indicate that infants' use of social information is dynamically attuned to situational factors and the state of their current abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1033-1042
Number of pages10
JournalNeural Networks
Volume23
Issue number8-9
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2010

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Infant locomotion
  • Perceptual exploration
  • Social cognition
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence

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