Inhibitory control interacts with core knowledge in toddlers’ manual search for an occluded object

Sara T. Baker, Nathalia L Gjersoe, Kasia Sibielska-Woch, Alan M. Leslie, Bruce M. Hood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Core knowledge theories advocate the primacy of fundamental principles that constrain cognitive development from early infancy. However, there is concern that core knowledge of object properties does not constrain older preschoolers’ reasoning during manual search. Here we address in detail both failure and success on two well-established search measures that require reasoning about solidity. We show that poor performance arises from an inability to engage the appropriate search strategy rather than a simple failure of core knowledge. Moreover, we demonstrate that successful search is positively correlated with inhibitory control. We believe that toddlers’ manual search for an occluded object reflects a general capacity to deploy inhibition so that search behaviour can be guided by core knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-279
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition
  • Concept Formation
  • Executive Function
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition (Psychology)
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Problem Solving

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