Representational momentum and children's sensori-motor representations of objects: Fast-Track Report

Lynn K. Perry, Linda B. Smith, Stephen A. Hockema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Recent research has shown that 2-year-olds fail at a task that ostensibly only requires the ability to understand that solid objects cannot pass through other solid objects. Two experiments were conducted in which 2- and 3-year-olds judged the stopping point of an object as it moved at varying speeds along a path and behind an occluder, stopping at a barrier visible above the occluder. Three-year-olds were able to take into account the barrier when searching for the object, while 2-year-olds were not. However, both groups judged faster moving objects to travel farther as indicated by their incorrect reaches. Thus, the results show that young children's sensori-motor representations exhibit a form of representational momentum. This unifies the perceptually based representations of early childhood with adults' dynamic representations that incorporate physical regularities but that are also available to conscious reasoning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F17-F23
JournalDevelopmental science
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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