Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Slater I 94
Object permanence/connectionism/neural networks/Mareschal: rather than existing as an all-or-none concept, object permanence was acquired gradually. (Munakata et al.1997)(1). Consequently, the representations that underlay this concept existed in graded states, becoming ever more robust with age and experience, and supporting ever more complex disappearance events. Mareschal, Plunkett, and Harris (1999)(2) present a model of the acquisition of object permanence incorporating a trajectory prediction module, which likewise simulates the graded emergence of representations of hidden objects through the strengthening of recurrent connections. However, the Mareschal et al. model also incorporates a second parallel route for processing feature information relevant to recognition of objects.
The architecture draws on the dual route visual processing hypothesis (Milner & Goodale, 1995)(3). According to this hypothesis,
Slater I 95
visual object information is processed down two segregated routes: one specialized in processing object features for recognition and the other specialized in processing object movement, location, and shape to enable action on the objects.
Slater I 96
Occlusion: The network is able to predict the subsequent reappearance of the object, taking into account how long it has been behind the screen.
Object representations emerge gradually through experience with an external world. However, in the Mareschal model, an additional performance factor is the need to integrate information across
Slater I 97
different functional systems over development (here, the dorsal and ventral visual cortical processing routes). According to this account, infants are delayed in reaching for hidden objects (as observed by Piaget >Object permanence/Piaget) as compared to their surprise response to the violation of single object properties (as observed by Baillargeon >Object permanence/Baillargeon) because of the added need to coordinate information across multiple functional systems when engaging in volitional reaching.



1. Munakata, Y., McClelland, J. L., Johnson, M. H., & Siegler, R. S. (1997). Rethinking infant knowledge: Toward an adaptive process account of successes and failures in object permanence tasks. Psychological Review, 104, 686–713.
2. Mareschal, D., Plunkett, K., & Harris, P. (1999). A computational and neuropsychological account of object-oriented behaviours in infancy. Developmental Science, 2, 306–317.
3. Milner, A. D., & Goodale, M. A. (1995). Oxford psychology series: The visual brain in action. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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.
Mareschal, Denis
Slater I
Alan M. Slater
Paul C. Quinn
Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2012


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