The development of the prediction of complex actions in early childhood.

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  • Author(s): Melzel, Saskia (); Paulus, Markus ()
  • Source:
    European Journal of Developmental Psychology. Mar2021, Vol. 18 Issue 2, p161-183. 23p.
  • Additional Information
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    • Abstract:
      Much of our everyday actions consist of several action steps, which are hierarchically structured. Yet, little is known about the development of the prediction of such complex actions in early childhood. The current work investigated the development of predicting means-end actions in 3- to 6-year-olds (N = 86) and an adult control group (N = 25). Participants were asked to predict the upcoming action of an actor who either needed an object (means) to achieve her goal (complex condition) or could directly achieve her goal (simple condition). Overall, children performed above chance in predicting the upcoming action of complex actions. Furthermore, simple action prediction and complex action prediction increased with age. However, overall, their performance was significantly worse for predicting complex compared to simple actions. Adults on the other hand showed ceiling performance in both conditions. Taken together, the results show that children's prediction performance of complex actions increases during early childhood. These findings expand previous research on complex action understanding to the prediction of complex actions and show substantial development during the preschool years. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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