It Is Not Just About Location: Infants Perseverate to Container Shape During Object Search


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In searching for a toy hidden at a new location, infants will err by searching at the previously correct location. This study investigated the possibility that 8.5-month-old infants would perseverate on the basis of other visual features by which covers could be individuated. Infants saw a toy hidden under 1 of 2 distinctly shaped covers. Following successful retrievals from the Shape A cover, infants saw the toy hidden under the Shape B cover. On this B trial, the covers were at locations that had not been baited on the preceding trials, precluding location perseveration. The infants erred by choosing the unbaited Shape A cover more often than control infants presented with 1 type of cover throughout. The findings suggest that infants perseverate to cover shape and are form biases biased toward cover shape even when location information is sufficient to support retrieval.