Infants look at physically impossible events longer than at physically possible events, and at improbable events longer than at probable events. Such behaviors are generally interpreted as showing that infants have expectations about future events and are surprised to see them violated. It is unknown, however, whether and under what conditions infants form proactive expectations about the future, as opposed to realizing post hoc that outcomes do not comply with their previous knowledge or experience.Here we investigate the relation between expectation and surprise at probabilistic or deterministic events in preverbal infants. When a situation is uncertain, 12-month-olds anticipate probable outcomes and are surprised at improbable continuations of the scene. However, they do not anticipate the only possible outcome of a physically deterministic situation, although they are surprised when it does not occur. The results suggest that infants are sensitive to the tradeoff between information gain and programming efforts, showing higher propensity to anticipate those future events that carry novel knowledge. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Infants anticipate probabilistic but not deterministic outcomes

Bonatti, Luca L.
2016

Abstract

Infants look at physically impossible events longer than at physically possible events, and at improbable events longer than at probable events. Such behaviors are generally interpreted as showing that infants have expectations about future events and are surprised to see them violated. It is unknown, however, whether and under what conditions infants form proactive expectations about the future, as opposed to realizing post hoc that outcomes do not comply with their previous knowledge or experience.Here we investigate the relation between expectation and surprise at probabilistic or deterministic events in preverbal infants. When a situation is uncertain, 12-month-olds anticipate probable outcomes and are surprised at improbable continuations of the scene. However, they do not anticipate the only possible outcome of a physically deterministic situation, although they are surprised when it does not occur. The results suggest that infants are sensitive to the tradeoff between information gain and programming efforts, showing higher propensity to anticipate those future events that carry novel knowledge. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3715141
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