Amy Needham and Renee Baillargeon
Object segregation in 8-month-old infants
Cognition 62. 2 (Feb 1997): 121-149


Two experiments examined a total of 48 7 mo 17 days-9 mo old infants' use of configural and physical knowledge in segregating 3-dimensional adjacent displays. Subjects in Exp 1 saw 2 identical yellow octagons standing side by side, and looked reliably longer when the octagons moved apart than when they moved together, suggesting that the Subjects perceived the octagons as a single unit and expected them to move together. Subjects in Exp 2 saw a yellow cylinder and a blue box and looked reliably longer when the box moved with the cylinder than when the box remained in place, suggesting that they viewed the cylinder and box as distinct units and thus expected the cylinder to move alone. In addition, Subjects who saw a thin blade lowered between the octagons viewed them as 2 rather than as 1 unit (Exp 1). Subjects who saw the cylinder lying above instead of on the apparatus floor perceived the cylinder and box as 1 rather than 2 units (Exp 2). Results show that by 8 mo old, infants can use both configural and physical knowledge when organizing stationary adjacent displays. Furthermore, when faced with conflicting interpretations of a display, infants allow the physical to supersede their configural knowledge.



Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles