Infant individuation and identification of objects

Patrice D. Tremoulet, Alan M. Leslie, D. Geoffrey Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Recent studies of the infant's object concept have focused on the role of property information in individuation. We draw a distinction between individuation and identification. By individuation, we mean the setting up of an object representation (OR). By identification, we mean using the information stored in an OR to decide which, if any, previously individuated object is presently encountered. We investigate this distinction in experiments with 12-month-old infants. We find that for infants of this age, a shape difference between two objects has a large effect on both individuation and identification. However, a color difference between two objects has a large effect on individuation, but little or no effect on identification. This suggests that, somewhat surprisingly, information used to establish an OR may not always be incorporated into that representation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-522
Number of pages24
JournalCognitive Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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