Piaget's Theory Of Object Permanence Of Infants

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Part One In 1985, Renee Baillargeon, Spelke, and Wasserman (1985) set out to answer the question of whether or not infants in early sensorimotor stage had the ability to understand the idea of object permanence. In an effort to challenge Piaget’s (1954) theory that infants can only perceive object permanence at around nine months old, Baillargeon et. al conducted an experiment on twenty-one infants from Philadelphia aged around five months old – much younger than when Piaget says they should begin understanding object permanence. The experiment was set up so that infants were habituated and introduced to a series of two events: one possible and one impossible. The possible event consisted of the child seeing a box in clear sight and then watching as a screen moves in a drawbridge fashion to slowly cover up the box and stopping at 120-degrees as …show more content…
The very fact that the impossible event took so much more maneuvering and time per trial meant that there was more room for inconsistencies. A simpler way to test object permanence would be with two differing possible events instead of one possible and one impossible. In the reinvented experiment, the child could be exposed to two different scenarios; one in which the box is placed in front of the screen and one in which the box is placed behind the screen. In the first scenario, the experimenter could raise the screen at 30-degrees per second up till 120 degrees until it hit the box in front of the child. The box will always be in full sight. In the second scenario, the experimenter will conduct it identical to how the possible event was conducted in the original scenario, occluding the box from sight. If the child spends nearly equal amounts of time watching both possible events, then it is clear that the child understands that the box is existent in both scenarios, thus proving their understanding of object

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