New Research From Psychological Science

Do 18-Month-Olds Really Attribute Mental States to Others? A Critical Test

Atsushi Senju, Victoria Southgate, Charlotte Snape, Mark Leonard, and Gergely Csibra

Studies have suggested that infants can attribute beliefs to other people. In an independent test of this hypothesis, infants were blindfolded with an opaque blindfold (opaque condition) or a transparent blindfold that appeared opaque (trick condition). Then both groups watched a video of an actor wearing a blindfold while a puppet (the white bear) removed a toy from a box. The infants’ eye movements revealed that those in the opaque group expected the actor to look for the toy in the box, while those in the trick group did not have that expectation. These results support the idea that infants are capable of mental-state attribution.

How Longer Saccade Latencies Lead to a Competition for Salience

Jelmer P. de Vries, Ignace T.C. Hooge, Marco A. Wiering, and Frans A.J. Verstraten

When people are viewing a scene with many objects in it, their eyes are drawn to salient objects or objects that “pop out” at them. Researchers hypothesized that visual-processing time would influence which objects people would saccade to (or glance at). Participants were shown displays with two elements, one that required a short processing time and another that required a long processing time. The element that needed a short processing time was selected more frequently after a short saccade latency, demonstrating that temporal constraints are a factor in saccadic selection.

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