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❚ embodiment ❚ somatic ❚ perception ❚ sensory ✱ Barbara Tversky

understanding other bodies

Our perception and understanding of the bodies of others are deeply connected to the actions and sensations of our own bodies. The connection of our bodies to those of others is mediated by the very structure of the brain and the nervous system.

Sometimes actions can be more revealing than words. Two ideas underlie a paradigm known as habituation of looking: people, even, or especially, babies, look at what they’re thinking about; and second, stuff that’s new grabs attention and thought. We know what babies are thinking the same way we often know what adults are thinking: from what they are looking at.

The question of interest is whether infants will look more at the event where the goal of reaching was changed or the event where the means of attaining the goal was changed. At ten months, infants were indifferent to the changes; they looked equally at both. Twelve-month-old infants looked more when the goal changed than when the means to the goal changed. A leap of understanding of goal-directed behavior in two months. The eye movements of one-year-old infants jump to the goal of the action before the hand even reaches the goal, suggesting that they anticipate the goal.