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Object Permanence After a 24-Hr Delay and Leaving the Locale of Disappearance: The Role of Memory, Space, and Identity

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Abstract

Fourteen-month-old infants saw an object hidden inside a container and were removed from the disappearance locale for 24 hr. Upon their return, they searched correctly for the hidden object, demonstrating object permanence and long-term memory. Control infants who saw no disappearance did not search. In Experiment 2, infants returned to see the container either in the same or a different room. Performance by room-change infants dropped to baseline levels, suggesting that infant search for hidden objects is guided by numerical identity. Infants seek the individual object that disappeared, which exists in its original location, not in a different room. A new behavior, identity-verifying search, was discovered and quantified. Implications are drawn for memory, spatial understanding, object permanence, and object identity.

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