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Selectivity in Infant Social Referencing
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2009 (English)In: Infancy, ISSN 1525-0008, E-ISSN 1532-7078, Vol. 14, no 4, 457-473 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In laboratory studies of social referencing, infants as young as 12 months have been reported to prefer looking at the experimenter over the caregiver for clarifying information. From an expertise perspective, such behavior could be interpreted as if the infant seeks information from others and can discriminate between persons who have or do not have relevant information to provide in the laboratory. If this is the case, higher order cognitive capacities might be involved in infant selectivity in looking in social referencing situations. However, it has also been proposed that associative learning processes might account for infant preferences in such studies. To examine whether an expertise perspective or if more basic learning processes best explain infant selectivity in looking, 40 12-month-old infants were assigned to 1 of 2 comparable conditions. The experimenter versus the caregiver presented an ambiguous toy and delivered positive information about the toy. The infants preferred to look at the experimenter and they regulated their behavior more in accordance with information coming from the experimenter. Thus, an associative learning account cannot explain infant preferences in looking. The results are discussed in terms of an expertise perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 14, no 4, 457-473 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-148863DOI: 10.1080/15250000902994115ISI: 000268280400004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-148863DiVA: diva2:403157
Available from: 2011-03-11 Created: 2011-03-11 Last updated: 2014-12-12Bibliographically approved

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Stenberg, Gunilla
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