The apparent maintenance of object identity over time, especially during periods of non-observation.
Typically-developing human beings and at least some other animals tend to regard the objects around them, including other organisms, landscape features, and artifacts, as maintaining their identities – remaining the “same thing” – over time whether they are observed continuously or not. Objects are, in other words, regarded as “permanent” or “persistent” by default. Both experimental and theoretical practice in psychology largely adopt the “naïve realist” assumption that objects having the properties they are typically perceived to have are ontologically real, i.e., they in fact exist in an observation-independent way and in fact maintain their identities over time. Given this assumption, object permanence is the recognition or understanding of the continuous, identity-preserving existence of...
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