In the absent reference comprehension literature, there is growing evidence that infants’ ability to locate the absent referent depends on various spatial factors. Some of the factors are the accessibility of the hiding location (Ganea, 2005), its proximity to the infant (Ganea & Saylor, 2013; Saylor & Baldwin, 2004) and, most central
to the present discussion, the stability of object location (Huttenlocher, 1974; Saylor & Ganea, 2007). The current study shows that location information may affect infants’ absent reference comprehension indirectly through affecting their object representation. Encountering an object several times across different locations affects infants’ understanding of the object identity, and this impairs their ability to locate the hidden object upon the experimenter’s verbal request. An interesting question Depsipeptide research buy for
future research is whether this effect can be extended to other types of referents that are less likely to have duplicates, for example to people or objects that infants know are unique. Another question is whether highly salient features that naturally help infants identify objects can release them from the location LEE011 ic50 change effect. Finally, it would be interesting to know when in development such type of location change stops interfering with infants’ performance and to understand what cognitive factors lead to such improvement. Previous research has shown that infants are able to individuate objects based on featural information before 12 months, at 4.5–10 months depending on the procedure (McCurry, Wilcox, & Woods, 2009; Wilcox, 1999; Wilcox & Baillargeon, 1998; Wilcox & Woods, 2009; Xu & Carey, 1996). In the current study, 12-month-old infants were confused about the number of objects when not given consistent spatiotemporal information and when their attention was not deliberately drawn to surface features. Several
aspects of the current study design might have contributed to CHIR-99021 cost this. First, the time lag between the two object presentations was much larger (10 min) in this study than in object individuation studies (a few seconds). Second, infants in this research had not only to individuate an object (establish its representation as a distinct solid entity in space), but also to identify it (that is, bind different object features together that define its identity and hold them in memory throughout occlusion for future retrieval). It is known that object identification is a more challenging task than object individuation (Tremoulet et al., 2000). Third, in the current study, infants’ object recognition was assessed in response to a verbal request for the object when it was absent. Presumably this is a more demanding test situation.