Infants Use Compression Information to Infer Objects' Weights: Examining Cognition, Exploration, and Prospective Action in a Preferential-Reaching Task

Petra Hauf, Markus Paulus, Renée Baillargeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present research used a preferential-reaching task to examine whether 9- and 11-month-olds (n=144) could infer the relative weights of two objects resting on a soft, compressible platform. Experiment 1 established that infants reached preferentially for the lighter of 2 boxes. In Experiments 2-4, infants saw 2 boxes identical except in weight resting on a cotton wool platform. Infants reached prospectively for the lighter box, but only when their initial exploratory activities provided critical information. At 11months, infants succeeded as long as they first determined that the platform was compressible; at 9months, infants succeeded only if they also explored the boxes and thus had advance knowledge that they differed in weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1978-1995
Number of pages18
JournalChild development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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