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Understanding the effects of one’s actions upon hidden objects and the development of search behaviour in 7-month-old infants

O'Connor, Richard J.; Russell, James

Authors

James Russell



Abstract

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.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2015-09
Journal Developmental science
Print ISSN 1363-755X
Electronic ISSN 1467-7687
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 5
Pages 824-831
APA6 Citation 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
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12265
Keywords Infancy; Cognitive development; Object permanence; Agency
Publisher URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/desc.12265/abstract
Additional Information This is the accepted manuscript of an article published in: Developmental science, 2015, v.18 issue 5.

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