Inducing infants to detect a physical violation in a single trial

Su Hua Wang, Renée Baillargeon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


There is increasing evidence that infants' representations of physical events can be enhanced through appropriate experiences in the laboratory. Most of this research has involved administering infants multiple training trials, often with multiple objects. In the present research, 8-month-olds were induced to detect a physical violation in a single trial. The experiments built on previous evidence that for occlusion events, infants encode height information at about age 3.5 months, but for covering events, they encode height information only at about age 12 months. In two experiments, a short cover was first placed in front of a short or a tall object (occlusion event); next, the cover was lowered over the tall object until it became fully hidden (covering event). Exposure to the occlusion event (but not other events in which height information was not encoded) enabled the infants to detect the violation in the covering event, much earlier than they would have otherwise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-549
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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