Objects or agents: Early development of knowledge about human hands (2006–2008)
Our recent ARC-funded work established that infants knowledge about human faces emerges long before knowledge of the whole human body shape. Like faces, hands are often the focus of action and communication between infants and their peers or caregivers, and they signal intentionality through their capacity for external reference (eg. pointing, gesturing). The purpose of the proposed studies is therefore to investigate whether human hands are similar to faces in being highly salient and subject to precocious learning in infancy. The results of these studies will deepen our understanding of what it is about other humans that fosters social responding in young infants.