Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Slater I 97
Object permanence/developmental psychology/Mareschal: The original Baillargeon et al. (1985)(1) drawbridge study (>Object permanence/Baillargeon) was seminal in showing that with the clever use of novel methods one could demonstrate far more sophisticated competence in even very young infants than many developmental psychologists had previously thought possible.
This led to a deluge of studies showing similar sorts of sophisticated object-based competencies. However, the limitations of the precocious competencies underscored the idea (already advocated by Piaget, >Object permanence/Piaget)) that object permanence is not an all-or-none competence. It develops across much of infancy.
The modeling and neuroimaging work have shown that although some of the markers of object permanence are identical in adults and infants (e.g., right-temporal brain activity) suggesting that there is some continuity between the infant state and the adult state, there nevertheless remain important differences (e.g., infants’ inability to retain object location and identity information and their delayed ability to demonstrate knowledge of hidden object in reach tasks as compared to VoE (violation of expectation ) tasks) that can also be explained by appealing to the organization and prolonged development of the functional neural systems involved in visual object processing. >Object permanence/Connectionism, >Object permanence/Mareschal.


1. Baillargeon, R., Spelke, E. S., & Wasserman, S. (1985). Object permanence in five-month-old infants. Cognition, 20, 191–208.


Denis Mareschal and Jordy Kaufman, „Object permanence in Infancy. Revisiting Baillargeon’s Drawbridge Experiment“ in: Alan M. Slater & Paul C. Quinn (eds.) 2012. Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies. London: Sage Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Developmental Psychology
Slater I
Alan M. Slater
Paul C. Quinn
Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2012


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