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Can neural activities during the traditional Piagetian AB search task explain infants’ perseverative search error?: Preliminary results

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Posterpeer-review

Publication date27/08/2020
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Since the infant perseverative error (AB error) was first reported by Piaget in 1954, these findings have been well replicated. Yet there is no general agreement on why the error occurs and what aspect of infants’ cognition AB error reflects. Since looking and reaching measures have yielded mixed evidence of infant ability, neurological measures indexing online cognitive processes may shed light on the mechanisms underlying the error, clarifying how different experimental manipulations may highlight different aspects of infants’ cognition involved in the error. In this pilot study, we monitored neural activities while infants engaged in the task in a live setting. We tested 50 9-month-old infants and the final sample consisted of the data from 36 infants. EEG data collected during a 5-second delay period between infants’ observing the toy being hidden and their being allowed to search were grouped into 4 conditions according to the phase (A- or B-trial) and their performance (accurate or inaccurate). The result indicated that theta-band oscillatory activities might perhaps predict infants’ search performance. However, due to the small number of data and large individual differences, none of the statistical comparisons found a significant difference across conditions. Nevertheless, a methodological procedure and analysis pipeline for future EEG research using a live AB task has been established. This pilot study has positioned us ready to untangle a complex cognitive process involved in a behavioural task such as this AB search task utilising a neurological measure.