Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 208, Issue 2, pp 297–307

The development of grasping comprehension in infancy: covert shifts of attention caused by referential actions

Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00221-010-2479-9

Cite this article as:
Daum, M.M. & Gredebäck, G. Exp Brain Res (2011) 208: 297. doi:10.1007/s00221-010-2479-9


An eye tracking paradigm was used to investigate how infants’ attention is modulated by observed goal-directed manual grasping actions. In Experiment 1, we presented 3-, 5-, and 7-month-old infants with a static picture of a grasping hand, followed by a target appearing at a location either congruent or incongruent with the grasping direction of the hand. The latency of infants gaze shift from the hand to the target was recorded and compared between congruent and incongruent trials. Results demonstrate a congruency effect from 5 months of age. A second experiment illustrated that the congruency effect of Experiment 1 does not extend to a visually similar mechanical claw (instead of the grasping hand). Together these two experiments describe the onset of covert attention shifts in response to manual actions and relate these findings to the onset of manual grasping.


InfancyGoal-directed actionsAction perceptionGrasping actionSaccadic reaction timesEye tracking

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Research Group “Infant Cognition and Action”Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain SciencesLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden