Awareness of Object Permanence In Infants

In the previous post where I was commenting on Quine, I mentioned a research done by Baillargeon, R. – “The Object Concept Revisited”. To give a example of those researches, I will point to one of the experiments done by Baillargeon and Julie DeVos (“Object Permanence in Young Infants: Further Evidence”) on the issue of young children being aware of object permanence…

The experiment was done on infants which were approximately 3.5 months old, to which (after the habituation events) those two test events were presented:


Here is the summary of the result and the interpretation of the results as given in the paper:

The infants in the experimental condition tended to look equally at the tall and the short carrot habituation events, but looked reliably longer at the impossible than at the possible test event. These results indicate that the infants (a)realized that each carrot continued to exist after it slid behind the screen, (b)assumed that each carrot retained its height behind the screen, (c) believed that each carrot pursued its trajectory behind the screen, and therefore (d) expected the tall carrot to be visible in the screen window and were surprised that it was not. These results confirm Baillargeon’s (1987a) conclusion that infants as young as 3.5 months of age are aware that objects continue to exist when occluded.

To read more about the Baillargeon’s research visit the Infant Cognition Lab, where you can find few pdf documents reporting the findings of the investigations.