Infants' Knowledge about Occlusion and Containment Events: A Surprising Discrepancy

Susan J. Hespos*, Renée Baillargeon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


The present research examined whether infants acquire general principles or more specific rules when learning about physical events. Experiments 1 and 2 investigated 4.5-month-old infants' ability to judge how much of a tall object should be hidden when lowered behind an occluder versus inside a container. The results indicated that at this age infants are able to reason about height in occlusion but not containment events. Experiment 3 showed that this latter ability does not emerge until about 7.5 months of age. The marked discrepancy in infants' reasoning about height in occlusion and containment events suggests that infants sort events into distinct categories, and acquire separate rules for each category.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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