The development of object permanence in the cat

Howard E. Gruber, Joan S. Girgus, Ali Banuazizi

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53 Scopus citations


Modified Piaget's methods of studying object permanence in children to form 8 behavioral tests suitable for cats. 12 laboratory-reared kittens and alley cats served as Ss. It was found that Ss reached an early developmental limit. Unlike children, they were unable to follow an object through a series of invisible displacements. 7 house-reared Ss showed similar limitations, but advanced more rapidly than cage-reared Ss. A longitudinal study with 3 house-reared litter mates suggests that cats go through 4 stages rather than the 6 found by Piaget in children. In the 1st 24 wk. of life, kittens develop as far as children do in their 1st yr., but the child's behavior with respect to vanished objects eventually becomes more complex and more general. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number1 PART 1
StatePublished - Jan 1971

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


  • object permanence development, 10-110 wk. old cat vs. children


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