How 14- and 18-month-olds know what others have experienced.
Fourteen- and 18-month-old infants observed an adult experiencing each of 2 objects (experienced objects) and then leaving the room; the infant then played with a 3rd object while the adult was gone (unexperienced object). The adult interacted with the 2 experienced objects in 1 of 3 ways: by (a) sharing them with the infant in an episode of joint engagement, (b) actively manipulating and inspecting them on his or her own as the infant watched (individual engagement), or (c) looking at them from a distance as the infant played with them (onlooking). As evidenced in a selection task, infants of both ages knew which objects had been experienced by the adult in the joint engagement condition, only the 18-month-olds knew this in the individual engagement condition, and infants at neither age knew this in the onlooking condition. These results suggest that infants are 1st able to determine what adults know (have experienced) on the basis of their direct, triadic engagements with them.
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