Infants' understanding of how their actions affect the visibility of hidden objects may be a crucial aspect of the development of search behaviour. To investigate this possibility, 7-month-old infants took part in a two-day training study. At the start of the first session, and at the end of the second, all infants performed a search task with a hiding-well. On both days, infants had an additional training experience. The ‘Agency group’ learnt to spin a turntable to reveal a hidden toy, whilst the ‘Means-End’ group learnt the same means-end motor action, but the toy was always visible. The Agency group showed greater improvement on the hiding-well search task following their training experience. We suggest that the Agency group's turntable experience was effective because it provided the experience of bringing objects back into visibility by one's actions. Further, the performance of the Agency group demonstrates generalized transfer of learning across situations with both different motor actions and stimuli in infants as young as 7 months.
O'Connor, R. J., & Russell, J. (2015). Understanding the effects of one’s actions upon hidden objects and the development of search behaviour in 7-month-old infants. Developmental Science, 18(5), 824-831 . https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12265