Development of the object concept in infancy
Wishart, Jennifer G.
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Piaget first observed and described the problems which young infants have in understanding the nature of objects forty years ago. Both his description and his analysis of the development of the object concept are still widely supported today. This thesis, while accepting the Piagetian description of the behaviours involved, suggests that Piaget's account of the underlying cognitive processes is no longer tenable. Alternative theories of object concept development which have been put forward in recent years are also examined and rejected. An identity theory of object concept development is proposed and a series of six interlinked experiments presented in an attempt to provide support for this theory. On the basis of these and the many other experiments reported in the literature, it is suggested that an identity theory alone can adequately cover the variety of appropriate and inappropriate object-related behaviours seen in the first two years of life.