David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Cognition 20 (3):191-208 (1985)
A new method was devised to test object permanence in young infants. Fivemonth-old infants were habituated to a screen that moved back and forth through a 180-degree arc, in the manner of a drawbridge. After infants reached habituation, a box was centered behind the screen. Infants were shown two test events: a possible event and an impossible event. In the possible event, the screen stopped when it reached the occluded box; in the impossible event, the screen moved through the space occupied by the box. The results indicated that infants looked reliably longer at the impossible than at the possible event. This hnding suggested that infants (1) understood that the box continued to exist, in its same location, after it was occluded by the screen, and (2) expected the screen to stop against the occluded box and were surprised, or puzzled, when it failed to do so. A control experiment in which the box was placed next to the screen provided support for this interpretation of the results. Together, the results of these experiments indicate that, contrary to Piaget’s (1954) claims, infants as young as 5 months of age understand that objects continue to exist when occluded. The results, also indicate that 5-month-old infants realize that solid objects do not move through the space occupied by other solid objects.
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References found in this work BETA
T. G. R. Bower & Jennifer G. Wishart (1972). The Effects of Motor Skill on Object Permanence. Cognition 1 (2-3):165-172.
Citations of this work BETA
Alison Gopnik (1988). Conceptual and Semantic Development as Theory Change: The Case of Object Permanence. Mind and Language 3 (3):197-216.
Robin Jeshion (2009). The Significance of Names. Mind and Language 24 (4):370-403.
Fei Xu (1997). From Lot's Wife to a Pillar of Salt: Evidence That Physical Object is a Sortal Concept. Mind and Language 12 (3&4):365–392.
Xiang Chen (2007). The Object Bias and the Study of Scientific Revolutions: Lessons From Developmental Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 20 (4):479 – 503.
Garry Young (2005). Ecological Perception Affords an Explanation of Object Permanence. Philosophical Explorations 8 (2):189-208.
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