Prazdny S, 1980, "A computational study of a period of infant object-concept development" Perception 9(2) 125 – 150
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A computational study of a period of infant object-concept development
Received 25 February 1979, in revised form 30 October 1979
Abstract. Piaget has distinguished a number of distinct stages in the development of the concept of an enduring external object during infancy. I present a theory of a class of behaviours at one of these stages embodied in a working computer program. The behaviour of this program matches a class of perceptual behaviours of infants between about twelve and twenty weeks of age in a number of experimental situations studied by Bower. The theory argues that these behaviours are a result of the interaction between the perceptual and conceptual levels of the system, and the way in which conflicts between competing descriptions of an object are resolved. I locate the cause of several features of the behaviours in the procedures for managing the changing representation of the world, and the system's way of treating transitions between the states of an object (for example, moving to stationary). The basic conceptual primitives of the analysis are objects and events, not motion and place, as argued by Bower, or the infant's previous activity, as argued by Piaget. I argue that adequate explanations of experimental findings such as these require the construction of fairly detailed computational models.
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