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Domain general learning: Infants use social and non-social cues when learning object statistics.

  • Author(s): Barry, Ryan A;
  • Graf Estes, Katharine;
  • Rivera, Susan M
  • et al.

Previous research has shown that infants can learn from social cues. But is a social cue more effective at directing learning than a non-social cue? This study investigated whether 9-month-old infants (N = 55) could learn a visual statistical regularity in the presence of a distracting visual sequence when attention was directed by either a social cue (a person) or a non-social cue (a rectangle). The results show that both social and non-social cues can guide infants' attention to a visual shape sequence (and away from a distracting sequence). The social cue more effectively directed attention than the non-social cue during the familiarization phase, but the social cue did not result in significantly stronger learning than the non-social cue. The findings suggest that domain general attention mechanisms allow for the comparable learning seen in both conditions.

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