Infants' search for hidden objects: Developing skills for using information selectively

  • Sophian C
  • Sage S
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Abstract

A study with 9- and 16-month-olds investigated infants' developing skills for using conflicting sources of information about an object's location selectively. One goal of the research was to clarify conflicting findings concerning perseverative errors, which suggest that 9-month-olds may not know how to select appropriately between prior information (from A trials) and current information (from the hiding at B) about an object's location. A second goal was to directly examine how infants select between conflicting sources of information by comparing their performance in a conflict condition with their use of each of the two sources of information separately. The main finding was that both 9- and 16-month-olds showed some selectivity in choosing between the two kinds of information. Although use of both prior and current information improved with age, when the two were in conflict 9-month-olds, like 16-month-olds, selectively favored the current over the prior information. At the same time, 9-month-olds did make significant perseverative errors. These errors were not incompatible with some selectivity because, while frequent relative to other errors, they were not more frequent than correct responses. In general, the findings from this study suggest that the development of search involves more a gradual refinement of early skills than the acquisition of fundamentally new modes of searching. © 1985 Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Author-supplied keywords

  • perserveration
  • search
  • selective information use

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Authors

  • Catherine Sophian

  • Stephanie Sage

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