Book 1 Chapter 4 – Early Cognitive Development

Object Permanence: Piaget - Butterworth

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Book 1 Chapter 4 – Early Cognitive Development

Understanding Objects Piaget 

– in the early months infants have no concept of

object permanence

– takes until 8-9 months old until

they look for an object that has disappeared. Evidence

from an experiment where an object is hidden under a cloth. Conclusion based on studies of just a few infants, but other researchers have confirmed robustness of the result.

Butterworth

one of the major achievements in the first months and worthy of study because of this. (Interactionist interpretation.)

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Expectation as a clue to understanding Another interpretation of the same result is that although the infant understood what was happening, they couldn’t physically co-ordinate their response before 8-9 months.

Bower investigated with a train stopping behind a screen and watched where a child’s gaze went. Findings appear to contradict Piaget as children as young as 2 months would anticipate the train’s reappearance, but a modified version where the train is stopped before the screen showed that the

Book 1 Chapter 4 – Early Cognitive Development

child’s gaze continued to track – therefore gaze not an

indicator of understanding of object permanence.

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