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