The role of intersensory redundancy in the emergence of social referencing in 5 1/2-month-old infants

Date of this Version


Document Type



Early evidence of social referencing was examined in 51/2-month-old infants. Infants were habituated to 2 films of moving toys, one toy eliciting a woman's positive emotional expression and the other eliciting a negative expression under conditions of bimodal (audiovisual) or unimodal visual (silent) speech. It was predicted that intersensory redundancy provided by audiovisual (but not available in unimodal visual) events would enhance detection of the relation between emotional expressions and the corresponding toy. Consistent with predictions, only infants who received bimodal, audiovisual events detected a change in the affect-object relations, showing increased looking during a switch test in which the toy-affect pairing was reversed. Moreover, in a subsequent live preference test, they preferentially touched the 3-dimensional toy previously paired with the positive expression. These findings suggest social referencing emerges by 5 1/2 months in the context of intersensory redundancy provided by dynamic multimodal stimulation and that even 5 1/2-month-old infants demonstrate preferences for 3-dimensional objects on the basis of affective information depicted in videotaped events. © 2011 American Psychological Association.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).