Representational flexibility and response control in a multistep multilocation search task.

P. D. Zelazo, J. S. Reznick, J. Spinazzola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Three experiments were conducted to explore the determinants of 2-year-olds' perseverative errors in a search task. In Experiment 1, children either retrieved an object during a preswitch phase or merely observed a hiding event. Active search produced perseveration on postswitch trials, but mere observation did not. In Experiment 2, similar results were found, even when active search occurred in the absence of observation. Finally, in Experiment 3, children observed a hiding event at 1 location on some pretest trials and simply retrieved an object at a different location on other trials. On test trials, in which an object was hidden at a 3rd location, children tended to search where they had searched previously. Together, the results indicate that active search is required to elicit perseveration, which points to failures of response control rather than representational inflexibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-214
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes


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