Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

A-Not-B Problem

  • Britta OsthausEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1096-1

Synonyms

Definition

The A-not-B error arises from the difficulty of switching an action directed toward one location toward a new location. The original set-up, called visible displacement, involves hiding a toy in location A while an infant is watching. The child is then allowed to search for it. If they retrieve the toy it is seen as an indication of object permanence – the understanding that objects continue to exist even if they are no longer perceived. After a number of repeats of this hide and seek procedure, the toy is then obviously hidden in a different location, B. Up to a certain developmental stage, infants persevere in searching in location A instead of B. This is called the A-not-B error. This behavior can be observed in reaching tasks, but also in larger spatial set-ups that require detours.

Introduction

When Piaget published his theory of child development in 1937 (1954in English), it quickly became absorbed by...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Amici, F., Aureli, F., & Call, J. (2008). Fission-fusion dynamics, behavioral flexibility, and inhibitory control in primates. Current Biology, 18(18), 1415–1419.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Buytendijk, F. J. J., & Fischel, W. (1932). Die Bedeutung der Feldkraefte und der Intentionalitaet fuer das Verhalten des Hundes. Archives Neerlandaises de Physiologie de l’homme et des animaux, 17, 459–494.Google Scholar
  3. Cacchione, T., & Rakoczy, H. (2017). Comparative metaphysics: Thinking about objects in space and time. In J. Call (Ed.), APA handbook of comparative psychology (pp. 579–599). Washington, DC: APA Press.Google Scholar
  4. Clarke, R. S., Heron, W., Fetherstonhaugh, M. L., Forgays, D. G., & Hebb, D. O. (1951). Individual differences in dogs: Preliminary report on the effects of early experience. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 5(4), 150–156.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Deppe, A. M., Wright, P. C., & Szelistowski, W. A. (2009). Object permanence in lemurs. Animal Cognition, 12(2), 381–388.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Diamond, A. (1990). The development and neural bases of memory functions as indexed by the AB and delayed response tasks in human infants and infant monkeys. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 608(1), 267–317.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Dumas, C., & Doré, F. Y. (1989). Cognitive development in kittens (Felis catus): A cross-sectional study of object permanence. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 103, 191–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dumas, C., & Dore, F. Y. (1991). Cognitive development in kittens (Felis catus): An observational study of object permanence and sensorimotor intelligence. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 105, 357–365.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Etienne, A. S. (1973). Searching behavior towards a disappearing prey in the domestic chick as affected by preliminary experience. Animal Behavior, 21, 749–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fiset, S., & Plourde, V. (2013). Object permanence in domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and gray wolves (Canis lupus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 127(2), 115.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Funk, M. S., & Matteson, R. L. (2004). Stable individual differences on developmental tasks in young yellow-crowned parakeets, Cyanoramphus auriceps. Animal Learning & Behavior, 32(4), 427–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gagnon, S., & Doré, F. Y. (1994). Cross-sectional study of object permanence in domestic puppies (Canis familiaris). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 108(3), 220.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Gruber, H. E., Girgus, J. S., & Banuazizi, A. (1971). The development of object permanence in the cat. Developmental Psychology, 4, 9–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hoffmann, A., Rüttler, V., & Nieder, A. (2011). Ontogeny of object permanence and object tracking in the carrion crow, Corvus corone. Animal Behaviour, 82(2), 359–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kis, A., Gácsi, M., Range, F., & Virányi, Z. (2012). Object permanence in adult common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus): Not everything is an “A-not-B” error that seems to be one. Animal Cognition, 15(1), 97–105.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Markovitch, S., & Zelazo, P. D. (1999). The A-not-B error: Results from a logistic meta-analysis. Child Development, 70, 1297–1313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. McKenzie, B. E., & Bigelow, E. (1986). Detour behavior in young human infants. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 4(2), 139–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nawroth, C., von Borell, E., & Langbein, J. (2015). Object permanence in the dwarf goat (Capra aegagrus hircus): Perseveration errors and the tracking of complex movements of hidden objects. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 167, 20–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Osthaus, B., Marlow, D., & Ducat, P. (2010). Minding the gap: Spatial perseveration error in dogs. Animal Cognition, 13(6), 881–885.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Osthaus, B., Proops, L., Hocking, I., & Burden, F. (2013). Spatial cognition and perseveration by horses, donkeys and mules in a simple A-not-B detour task. Animal Cognition, 16(2), 301–305.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Pepperberg, I. M. (2002). The value of the Piagetian framework for comparative cognitive studies. Animal Cognition, 5, 177–182.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Pepperberg, I. M., Willner, M. R., & Gravitz, L. B. (1997). Development of Piagetian object permanence in grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 111(1), 63.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Pfungst, O. (1911). Clever Hans: (The horse of Mr. Von Osten.) a contribution to experimental animal and human psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Piaget, J. (1954). The construction of reality in the child (M. Cook, Trans.). New York: Basic Books. (Original work published 1937).Google Scholar
  25. Piaget, J. (1971). Biology and knowledge. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  26. Pollok, B., Prior, H., & Güntürkün, O. (2000). Development of object permanence in food-storing magpies (Pica pica). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 114(2), 148–157.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Thinus-Blanc, C., & Scardigli, P. (1981). Object permanence in the golden hamster. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 53, 1010.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Thompson, W. R. (1954). The effects of restricting early experience on the problem-solving capacity of dogs. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 8, 17–31.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Topál, J., Gergely, G., Miklósi, Á., Erdőhegyi, Á., & Csibra, G. (2008). Infants’ perseverative search errors are induced by pragmatic misinterpretation. Science, 321(5897), 1831–1834.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Uzgiris, I. C., & Hunt, J. M. (1989). Assessment in infancy: Ordinal scales of psychological development (2nd ed.). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  31. Vauclair, J. (1996). Animal cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Zucca, P., Milos, N., & Vallortigara, G. (2007). Piagetian object permanence and its development in Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius). Animal Cognition, 10(2), 243–258.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Psychology, Politics and SociologyCanterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUK