Beyond ‘what’ and ‘how many’:

Jennifer M. Zosh and Lisa Feigenson

in The Origins of Object Knowledge

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199216895
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191696039 | DOI:
Beyond ‘what’ and ‘how many’:

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In this chapter, the authors have suggested that to comprehend object representations, one must come to understand the working memory system that supports their storage and maintenance. The authors offer a developmental perspective to this approach. One of the most controversial revelations of this work has been that, starting quite early in the first year of life, infants can think about objects in the absence of direct perceptual evidence of their existence. More recent work has demonstrated that nonhuman species like monkeys can also represent and reason about unseen objects. It has been discussed also that thinking and reasoning about hidden objects requires memory. Without a mental storage system in which object representations can be maintained and processed, infants and monkeys would not be able to expect hidden objects to be solid, continuous, or cohesive — out of sight is out of mind.

Keywords: object representations; memory system; developmental perspective; infants; direct perceptual evidence; nonhuman species; thinking; reasoning; memory; hidden objects

Chapter.  11255 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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