Children and objects

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I have been babysitting my neighbors for the past 3 years. The girls, Kate and Lizzy, are now 5 and 3 so I have watched them grow up their entire life. I took an intro psych class in high school that taught me the basics about cognitive development. The most fascinating thing I learned was how infants don't understand object permanence. We learned in class that when a child plays hide and seek they think that if they can't see you, you cannot see them. I always thought that was kind of silly until I witnessed it multiple times where little Kate would hide in the middle of the floor and cover her eyes and think I could not see her. Also the shock on a child's face when you hide an object from them and it shows up two seconds later again. They do not grasp the concept of an object being hidden. The experiment that I am looking forward to trying this summer is starting with a glass of water, pouring it into a different shaped glass and seeing if they know that it is the same amount of water. I haven't ever tried this on a child but I know that most children do not understand that it is the same amount of water. Kate and Lizzy are extremely smart for their age but I am curious to find out if Piaget's theories hold true for them.


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I think that is also very interesting as well. When I learned about that in lecture, I was not surprised at all despite it being silly, because I expected that out of kids. I like how simple things can be for them when you hide behind your hands, you're suddenly gone to them. So simple.

This is a very interesting topic. It would be interesting to see if they are able to tell the difference between the different glasses of water. Perhaps you could try very obscure glasses such as very small dixie cups vs very large ones.

I was surprised when I found out that when young children can't see things, they don't believe they are hidden. I just thought that little kids were stupid. I was even more surprised with the water experiment that they did and the children got the question wrong even when they saw the water being poured into a different container.

Thank you guys for the comments. I was home this weekend and actually got to babysit the girls for two hours yesterday. We decorated eggs and while doing so when I put the egg in the dye I would ask if that meant there was more dye in there because the level of it went up. The younger one said yes and the older one would say that NOOOOOOO there is just eggs in there! So I thought that was interesting but did not get the chance to do anything further.

Its great that you were able to try out part of the experiment you proposed by using the eggs in the dye and were able to see how object permanence plays out at different ages in the kids.

It sounds so dumb to us that if children can't see something, they think it is nonexistent. That's why it would be interesting to have the mind of a child for a day or so and see exactly how different things were and how we viewed them.

That's really cool! I am also babysitting this summer and I am thinking that maybe I'll try testing Piaget's theory with the kids I watch too. It's really funny to think that little kids think that if they cover their eyes, you won't be able to see them. It probably also has to do with ego-centrism because they think that you think exactly like them.

It is very interesting how kids think when they are younger. Makes me wonder if I was like that when I played. I would find something like her hiding very cute and funny. That would be a good experiment since you see them every time you babysit so you could do it several times and see at what age they are actually able to give you the right answer.

I have a three year old brother and a three year old nephew, so I have experienced this several times! It's so cute how my nephew will run around with his eyes closed and assume I can't see him. Or, on a crueler note, when I hide and they suddenly think I have left the house and will begin to cry! They actually think I'm really gone, or they will start doing bad behavior.

I never really noticed any of this until taking this course either. It is interesting that now you realize that they really think you are hiding and it makes a lot more sense now why that is so amusing to kids now.

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This page contains a single entry by purt0015 published on April 3, 2012 12:17 PM.

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