ERIC Number: EJ849919
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Cohesion as a Constraint on Object Persistence in Infancy
Cheries, Erik W.; Mitroff, Stephen R.; Wynn, Karen; Scholl, Brian J.
Developmental Science, v11 n3 p427-432 May 2008
A critical challenge for visual perception is to represent objects as the same persisting individuals over time and motion. Across several areas of cognitive science, researchers have identified cohesion as among the most important theoretical principles of object persistence: An object must maintain a single bounded contour over time. Drawing inspiration from recent work in adult visual cognition, the present study tested the power of cohesion as a constraint as it operates early in development. In particular, we tested whether the most minimal cohesion violation--a single object splitting into two--would destroy infants' ability to represent a quantity of objects over occlusion. In a forced-choice crawling paradigm, 10- and 12-month-old infants witnessed crackers being sequentially placed into containers, and typically crawled toward the container with the greater cracker quantity. When one of the crackers was visibly split in half, however, infants failed to represent the relative quantities, despite controls for the overall quantities and the motions involved. This result helps to characterize the fidelity and specificity of cohesion as a fundamental principle of object persistence, suggesting that even the simplest possible cohesion violation can dramatically impair infants' object representations and influence their overt behavior.
Descriptors: Object Permanence, Persistence, Infants, Visual Perception, Cognitive Psychology, Child Development, Cognitive Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A