Daum, M., Wronski, C., Harms, A., & Gredebäck, G. (2016) Action perception in infancy: The plasticity of 7-month-olds’ attention to grasping actions. Experimental Brain Research, 234, 2465-2478.

The present study investigates the plasticity of 7-month-old infants’ orienting of attention during their perception of grasping actions. Previous research has shown that when infants observe a grasping hand, they shift their attention in line with the grasping direction, which is indicated by a reliable priming effect in this direction. The mechanisms behind this priming effect are largely unknown and it is unclear how malleable this priming effect is with respect to a brief exposure to novel action-target contingencies. In a spatial-cueing paradigm, we presented a series of training trials prior to a series of test trials. These training sequences significantly modulated infants’ attention. This suggests that action perception, when assessed through shifts of attention, is not solely based on the infants’ grasping experience but quickly adapts to context-specific observed regularities.