Object Permanence Essay

1439 Words6 Pages
The term object permanence is used to describe a child’s ability to know that objects continue to exist even though they can no longer be seen or heard. The concept of object permanence plays an important role in the theory of cognitive development created by psychologist Jean Piaget. In the sensorimotor stage of development, a period that lasts from birth to about age two, Piaget suggested that children understand the world through their motor abilities such as touch, vision, taste and movement (Baillargeon 1991). Piaget became interested in the relationship between a child’s ability had with the environment. He firstly observed his own children as they played. His observations convinced him that children’s ability to think and reason progresses through a series of qualitatively distinct stages. There were four main stages. The sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage, the stage of concrete operations, and the stage of formal operations. He focused mainly on the sensorimotor stage, at this stage the first two years of life takes place. This is when the infant realises how far they need to reach out to grasp an object such as a toy. The concept of object permanence is also discovered at this stage. Object permanence, the awareness that an object continues to exist when it is not present. For example if a cloth is placed over a toy that an 8 month-old is reaching for the infant immediately stops reaching for it and takes no interest in the toy. This shows that infant has not developed the concept of object permanence, whereas if you did this to a 10 month-old reaching for a toy then the infant would keep searching for the toy. This shows that the older baby has attained the concept of object permanence (Smith, E p76). Adults believe that an object cannot exist at two separate points in time without it of existed during the interval between them. Piaget (1954)
Open Document