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Producing and processing self-propelled motion in infancy.
Three experiments investigated 5- through 8-month-olds' ability to encode self-propelled and caused motion and examined whether processing of motion onset changes when crawling begins. Infants were habituated (Experiments 1 and 2) or familiarized (Experiment 3) with simple causal and noncausal launching events. They then viewed the caused-to-move and self-propelled objects from the events both stationary and side-by-side, and their preferential looking to the objects was assessed. Results revealed that 5- and 6-month-olds displayed a different pattern of looking than did 8-month-olds. More notably, noncrawling 7-month-olds and 7-month-olds with crawling experience also demonstrated such a differential pattern. These data suggest that processing of motion onset changes in concert with the commencement of self-locomotion. Findings are discussed in reference to the mechanisms underlying infants' ability to recognize self-propelled motion and the scope of the relationship between action production and action perception in infancy.