Within a small bounded space, the location of a hidden object can be coded in terms of distance information, general area of hiding, or the boundary of the space. 6.5-month-old infants' use of these three coding strategies was examined using a visual search task. Infants watched as an object was hidden at one of four identical locations. After a short delay (10 s), the object either reappeared at the location where it was hidden (possible event), or reappeared at one of the other three locations (impossible event). Looking behavior was not systematically influenced by the amount of distance the object moved from the original location of hiding or by whether the object was hidden near a boundary. Infants did not appear to code the location of a hidden object in terms of distance information, general area of hiding, or whether it was hidden at a boundary. However, the location of reappearance (i.e., impossible event) did influence looking times. Infants were surprised when the object reappeared at a boundary position that was previously unoccupied. They were not surprised when the object reappeared at a central location. Thus, two factors influenced coding of location: boundary information (but in a different way than specified) and the nature of the change (absence vs. presence of an object). The influence of these two factors on coding of spatial information was discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology