Object permanence in dogs: Invisible displacement in a rotation task

Holly C. Miller, Cassie D. Gipson, Aubrey Vaughan, Rebecca Rayburn-Reeves, Thomas R. Zentall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Dogs were tested for object permanence using an invisible displacement in which an object was hidden in one of two containers at either end of a beam and the beam was rotated. Consistent with earlier research, when the beam was rotated 180°, the dogs failed to find the object. However, when the beam was rotated only 90°, they were successful. Furthermore, when the dogs were led either 90° or 180° around the apparatus, they were also successful. In a control condition, when the dogs could not see the direction of the 90° rotation, they failed to find the object. The results suggest that the 180° rotation may produce an interfering context that can be reduced by rotating the apparatus only 90° or by changing the dogs' perspective. Once the conflict is eliminated, dogs show evidence of object permanence that includes invisibly displaced objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-155
Number of pages6
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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