A First-Person Perspective on a Parent-Child Social Interaction During Object Play


We studied parent-child social interactions in a naturalistic tabletop setting. Our approach was to analyze the real-time sensorimotor dynamics of the social partners as they engage in joint object play. From the child’s point of view, what she perceives critically depends on her own and her social partner’s actions, as well as on her actions on objects. These interdependencies may scaffold learning if the perception-action loops, both within a child and between the child and his social partner, can simplify the environment by filtering irrelevant information, for example while learning about objects. In light of this general hypothesis, we report new findings. These seek to describe the visual learning environment from a young child’s point of view and measure the visual information a child perceives in a real-time interaction with a parent. The main results are (1) what the child perceives most often depends on her own actions and her social partner’s actions; (2) there are distinct interaction patterns in naturalistic child-parent interactions; these can influence the child’s visual perception in different ways; (3) The actions generated by both social partners provide more constrained and clean input to the child, presumably facilitating learning.

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