Kochukhova, O., Gredebäck, G. (2010) Preverbal Infants Anticipate that Food will be Brought to the Mouth: An Eye Tracking Study of Manual Feeding and Flying Spoons. Child Development, 81, 1729-1738.

This study relies on eye tracking technology to investigate how humans perceive others’ feeding actions. Results demonstrate that 6-month-olds (n = 54) anticipate that food is brought to the mouth when observing an adult feeding herself with a spoon. Still, they fail to anticipate self-propelled (SP) spoons that move toward the mouth and manual combing actions directed toward the head. Ten-month-olds (n = 54) and adults (n = 32) anticipate SP spoons; however, only adults anticipate combing actions. These results suggest that goal anticipation during observation of feeding actions develops earlier and is less dependent on directly perceived actions than goal anticipation during observation of other manual actions. These results are discussed in rela- tion to experience and a possible phylogenetic influence on perception and understanding of feeding.