Décalage in infants' knowledge about occlusion and containment events: Converging evidence from action tasks

Susan J. Hespos, Renée Baillargeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the present research, 6-month-old infants consistently searched for a tall toy behind a tall as opposed to a short occluder. However, when the same toy was hidden inside a tall or a short container, only older, 7.5-month-old infants searched for the tall toy inside the tall container. These and control results (1) confirm previous violation-of-expectation (VOE) findings of a décalage in infants' reasoning about height information in occlusion and containment events; (2) cast doubt on the suggestion that VOE tasks overestimate infants' cognitive abilities; and (3) support recent proposals that infants use their physical knowledge to guide their actions when task demands do not overwhelm their limited processing resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)B31-B41
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006



  • Action tasks
  • Containment
  • Infants physical reasoning
  • Occlusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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