Find Your Manners: How Do Infants Detect the Invariant Manner of Motion in Dynamic Events?

Department of Psychology, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA.
Child Development (Impact Factor: 4.92). 02/2012; 83(3):977-91. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01737.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To learn motion verbs, infants must be sensitive to the specific event features lexicalized in their language. One event feature important for the acquisition of English motion verbs is the manner of motion. This article examines when and how infants detect manners of motion across variations in the figure's path. Experiment 1 shows that 13- to 15-month-olds (N = 30) can detect an invariant manner of motion when the figure's path changes. Experiment 2 reveals that reducing the complexity of the events, by dampening the figure's path, helps 10- to 12-month-olds (N = 19) detect the invariant manner. These findings suggest that: (a) infants notice event features lexicalized in English motion verbs, and (b) attention to manner can be promoted by reducing event complexity.

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