Dynamic mental representation in infancy

Susan J. Hespos*, Philippe Rochat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Recent research indicates that 4- to 8-month-old infants can track and anticipate the final orientation of an object following different invisible spatial transformations (Rochat, P., Hespos, S.J. (1996). Cognitive Development, 11, 3-17). Six experiments were designed to specify further the nature and development of early expectation for a set of dynamic events. A violation of expectation method was used to assess infants' reactions to probable and improbable outcomes of an objects' orientation following an invisible transformation. The availability of orientation cues, the path of motion, and the amount of invisible spatial transformation was systematically varied. The studies indicate that infants as young as 4 months of age detect orientation-specific cues for objects undergoing invisible spatial transformations. Developmental differences in this ability between 4 and 6 months of age lend insight to the nature and limitations of this early representational ability. These findings provide evidence for dynamic mental representation in infancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-188
Number of pages36
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1997


  • Infancy
  • Mental representation
  • Spatial transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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