Your Brilliant Baby in Week 30: Finding Partially Hidden Objects
What your infant learns this week
Baby’s Brain in Week 30
By now, you’ve watched your baby chuck food, toys, your glasses—basically anything he can get his grabby hands on—to the floor, and observed as his eyes followed it all on the descent. In babies’ ongoing pursuit to understand that objects and people continue to exist even when out of sight, children around seven months old will uncover objects that are partially hidden, revealing (with glee!) the entire objects. (Watch this very proud baby do it.)
Let’s say that your child has a favorite toy animal, a doggie. Prior to age six months, if your child saw Doggie’s body covered by a blanket (with only the head showing), in his mind the body might as well be cut off. Baby sees the head, so to him that’s all that’s actually there.
Now, though, seeing the toy’s head cues your baby to realize that the rest of Doggie is hiding under the blanket. Excitedly, your child will lift the blanket to reveal Doggie entirely.
What the Research Shows
Researchers set out to prove that all six- to eight-month-olds search for partially hidden objects. They put a toy under a cloth but left part of it sticking out. Upon seeing part of it, the infants were inspired to uncover the whole toy, which suggests that infants at these ages recognize that the whole object is there even though they can see only part of it.
When, instead of partially covering up the toy, researchers covered it completely, the infants stopped looking for it. For six- to eight-month-olds, an object out of sight completely still means it’s gone. (This is another step in babies’ understanding of object permanence. Click here to review earlier steps.)
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