Infants’ Knowledge of Object Continuity and Discontinuity

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Child Development




Sixty infants divided evenly between 5 and 7 months of age were tested for their knowledge of object continuity versus discontinuity with a predictive tracking task. The stimulus event consisted of a moving ball that was briefly occluded for 20 trials. Both age groups predictively tracked the ball when it disappeared and reappeared via occlusion, but not when it disappeared and reappeared via implosion. Infants displayed high levels of predictive tracking from the first trial in the occlusion condition, and showed significant improvement across trials in the implosion condition. These results suggest that infants possess embodied knowledge to support differential tracking of continuously and discontinuously moving objects, but this tracking can be modified by visual experience.