In this study, we explored the relation of two different measures used to investigate infants' expectations about goal-directed actions. In previous studies, expectations about action outcomes have been either measured after the action has been terminated, that is posthoc (e.g., via looking time) or during the action is being performed, that is online (e.g., via predictive gaze). Here, we directly compared both types of measures. Experiment 1 demonstrated a dissociation between looking time and predictive gaze for 9-month-olds. Looking time reflected identity-related expectations whereas predictive gaze did not. If at all, predictive gaze reflected location-related expectations. Experiment 2, including a wider age range, showed that the two measures remain dissociated over the first 3 years of life. It is only after the third birthday that the dissociation turns into an association, with both measures then reflecting identity-related expectations. We discuss these findings in terms of an early dissociation between two mechanisms for action expectation. We speculate that while post-hoc measures primarily tap ventral mechanisms for processing identity-related information (at least at a younger age), online measures primarily tap dorsal mechanisms for processing location-related information.
2012. Vol. 3, 370