Research on Joint Action Observation in Infants

Topics: Observation, Jean Piaget, Scientific method Pages: 5 (1562 words) Published: July 22, 2013
The Study of Joint Action Objects with Infants
Paige Althaus
Terra State Community College

Fawcett, C. and Liszkowski, U. 2012. Observation and Initiation of Joint Action in Infants. Child Development, 83 (2), pp. 434-441. Feldman, R.S. (2011). Cognitive Growth: Piaget and Vygotsky. Life span development: a topical approach (pp. 153-155). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall/Pearson.

Observation and Initiation of Joint Action in Infants

Observation is one way of showing how infants can interact and learn through play. There is very little evidence proving that infants can imitate through joint action observation. Many children observe while with certain objects and behaviors by others. Thus, the objective in this research is to examine “what infants learn when they observe interactions” and “whether infants, when observing others’ joint activity, encode the participants’ goals to act together” (Fawcett, 2012).

The research was available to parents of the infants who were interested in participating in the study; the parents also had to join in on the study as well. The outcome resulted in forty-eight 18-month-old infants, who generally live in the European city and were white and lived middle class. There were indeed additional participants, however one of the infants was and error and the other 3 had refused to engage in the research (Fawcett, 2012). Materials

This research required objects to be used in the study. There were 6 different objects which included: “(a) two bicycle bells attached to a wooden base, (b) two wooden levers on a wooden base, (c) a wooden drum with two drumsticks attached to it with cords, (d) a large plastic wheel on a wooden base, (e) a large plastic switch on a top of a plastic box, and (f) a trampoline with which a small ball could be bounced on a large plate.” (Fawcett, 2012). These objects were used in 6 different phases of the study. Procedure

There were three conditions in which the infants observed the actions being performed. Those conditions included solitary condition which is where one individual was acting alone with an object. When two individuals were acting separately that was individual action condition. The last condition was joint action which means two individuals are acting together (Fawcett, 2012). The procedure began by assigning the infants with either the joint or solitary condition. The parents held the infants on their laps during the study. There were 6 trials being performed and the procedure involved a demonstration phase as well as a testing phase (Fawcett, 2012). Demonstration Phase

This phase consisted of the first model displaying and object and saying “Oh, look at this” to get the attention of the infant (Fawcett, 2012). This action was also demonstrated with a second model and this is called joint action condition. The two models reacted to the object simultaneously up to six times in a row to get the attention of the infant. After the demonstration of the joint action condition the first model says “This is fun” and made eye contact with the second model and the infant while using the objects together (Fawcett, 2012). The other conditions used the same action but with different objects. In the individual action condition, one model would say comments and act on the object and only make eye contact with the infant and never with the other model involved. The solitary condition was “performed by herself using her left and right hands as in the individual action condition” (Fawcett, 2012). The actions were very fast and only lasted approximately 40 seconds; the test phase began with only one model (Fawcett, 2012). Test Phase

This phase lasted up to 90 seconds long. The first model would push the object towards the infant but would have their head down with their hand lying near the toy. “If an infant addressed the model, she looked at the infant, leaned slightly forward, nodded...
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