Infants' representations of three-dimensional occluded objects. Academic Article uri icon


  • Infants' ability to represent objects has received significant attention from the developmental research community. With the advent of eye-tracking technology, detailed analysis of infants' looking patterns during object occlusion have revealed much about the nature of infants' representations. The current study continues this research by analyzing infants' looking patterns in a novel manner and by comparing infants' looking at a simple display in which a single three-dimensional (3D) object moves along a continuous trajectory to a more complex display in which two 3D objects undergo trajectories that are interrupted behind an occluder. Six-month-old infants saw an occlusion sequence in which a ball moved along a linear path, disappeared behind a rectangular screen, and then a ball (ball-ball event) or a box (ball-box event) emerged at the other edge. An eye-tracking system recorded infants' eye-movements during the event sequence. Results from examination of infants' attention to the occluder indicate that during the occlusion interval infants looked longer to the side of the occluder behind which the moving occluded object was located, shifting gaze from one side of the occluder to the other as the object(s) moved behind the screen. Furthermore, when events included two objects, infants attended to the spatiotemporal coordinates of the objects longer than when a single object was involved. These results provide clear evidence that infants' visual tracking is different in response to a one-object display than to a two-object display. Furthermore, this finding suggests that infants may require more focused attention to the hidden position of objects in more complex multiple-object displays and provides additional evidence that infants represent the spatial location of moving occluded objects.

published proceedings

  • Infant Behav Dev

author list (cited authors)

  • Woods, R. J., Wilcox, T., Armstrong, J., & Alexander, G

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Woods, Rebecca J||Wilcox, Teresa||Armstrong, Jennifer||Alexander, Gerianne

publication date

  • December 2010