Object Permanence Essay

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When an infant is being taken away his favourite toy he will start crying because he thinks it disappes for good as he can’t see it nor touch it anymore. Young infants are characterised by extreme egocentrism as they only see the world through the frame of their own senses, they are therefore not able to form mental representations (schema) of objects.
Object permanence can be defined as the ability to understand that even if an object is no longer perceptible, it continues to exist. We can ask ourselves why is this phenomenon important to investigate? It is the step between objects only existing through on going sensory stimulation and the realisation of their existence being constant and not only dependant of the infant’s input upon it.
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He defines four different stages of development; the sensorimotor stage (from birth to age two), the preoperational stage (from age two to about age seven), the concrete operational stage (from age seven to eleven) and the formal operational stage (which begins in adolescence and spans into adulthood). Jean Piaget had a constructivist approach of development which means that he believed that infants were born with very little knowledge and learnt about objects through their experience of it. He observes the emergence of object permanence within the sensorimotor stage, and reports six different stages of development of object permanence. From birth up to 4 months he defines two different stages: the Reflex Schema Stage and the Primary Circular Reactions in which babies are not physically developed enough to reach and search for objects which are perceived as images related to actions. In the Secondary Circular reacyions ( from four to eight months) the infant will serch for partially hidden objects. Up to that stage infant have partially completed object permance. From approximatively eight to twelve months, Piaget defines the co-ordinating Secondary schemes in which the infant becomes more goal directed, this stage is associated with the A-Not-B error, infants will search an object where they have been habituated to find it (location A) and not where they just saw it being …show more content…
Baillargeon and Spelke came up with two reasons for object permanence to be so early, suggesting that humans have an innate capacity to acquire knowledge about objects (Baillargeon,2002) and that we were born with a core knowledge of objects’ physical propreties (solidity for example), this latter theory is called the Core Knowledge Theory (Spelke et al., 1992), (Spelke, Kinzler, 2002). Unlike Piaget, Baillargeon and Spelke indicate that object permanence does not entirely rely on constructivism as there is a form of primitive knowledge, this is called the nativist theory. Furthermore, Spelke et al. (1992) show that even two months old infants manifest a partial form of object permanence, which strengthens this nativist approach of cognition as such young infant do not have the opportunity to interact with the world and learn as much from

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