Developments in young infants' reasoning about occluded objects

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Eight experiments were conducted to examine 3- and 3.5-month-old infants' responses to occlusion events. The results revealed two developments, one in infants' knowledge of when objects should and should not be occluded and the other in infants' ability to posit additional objects to make sense of events that would otherwise violate their occlusion knowledge. The first development is that, beginning at about 3 months of age, infants expect an object to become temporarily visible when passing behind an occluder with an opening extending from its lower edge. The second development is that, beginning at about 3.5 months of age, infants generate a two-object explanation when shown a violation in which an object fails to become visible when passing behind an occluder with an opening in its lower edge. Unless given information contradicting such an explanation, infants infer that two identical objects are involved in the event, one traveling to the left and one to the right of the opening. These and related findings provide the basis for a model of young infants' responses to occlusion events; alternative models are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-336
Number of pages70
JournalCognitive Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

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