Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Laura Lakusta

Committee Member

Jason Dickinson

Committee Member

Peter Vietze


Infants can discriminate the difference between goal (endpoint; e.g., duck walking to a tree) and source events (starting point; e.g., duck walking away from tree), and they show a preference for the goals over the source events (Lakusta et al., 2007; Lakusta & Carey, 2015). The current experiment explored to what extent 10-18 month old infants categorically represent goal spatial relations. The present experiment is an extension of Lakusta, Yuschak, & Batinjane (2014) which found that 14-month old infants show evidence for goal and, sometimes, source categorization. Because there is evidence for 14-month old categorization the current experiment tested younger (10-month) and older (18-month) infants to explore the interaction between categorization and language. The current experiment looked at infants’ categorical representations of goal spatial relations by familiarizing infants to goal spatial relations (e.g., onto or next to) and testing them on novel goal spatial relations (e.g., into). There were three block conditions in the experiment, which all tested a novel spatial relation however, each block was increasingly different by changing the reference objects and figures to novel objects and figures. The current experiment suggests that infants between 10-18 months old can form categorizations for goal-oriented events across varying events but differ in how novel the event can be depending upon their age.

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Psychology Commons