3V0204.02 Robby, Miriam play with Peggy; object permanence data (8/14/78)
The second group of interesting observations with the toy focus on my first observations of Peggy’s crawling. Gretchen has remarked on Peggy’s ‘falling sideways’ and thereby going forward a little over the past few days. Today;s behavior was a clear extension of what may have been chance advances into a directed and repeated series of specific actions for accomplishing an obvious objective.
A little reviewing before description. Robby has given Peggy demonstrations of how to crawl. Yesterday Miriam was giving Peggy direct instruction in how to crawl by what is best called “shaping”. Miriam set the clown on the floor beyond Peggy’s reach from her belly based position then lifted Peggy’s hips high as Peggy flailed with her legs, so the legs came up under the hips. Miriam let her go and make [sic] encouraging noises as Peggy fell over and a little forward. Miriam repeated this a second time and pushed the clown to Peggy;s grasping hands at her second forward fall.
Today, on the bed in a field of scattered rings, when all had been knocked out of her reach, Peggy set out to get the purple, green, and red rings – a goo six inches beyond her. It could be no clear(er) that Peggy wanted the rings. She reached out toward them and cried when they were not accessible. Peggy pushed her hips up, falling forward and sideways at least half a dozen times as she reached out for and focused on the rings. She did get the purple and red rings but the green escaped her. Peggy gave up on the green ring and dropped the red. She rotated on her stomach and started to go after the orange ring with the purple ring still in her hand. Peggy intermittently reached for the orange ring and failing, brought the purple ring to her mouth. She reached with one hand as the other – when reaching with her right hand, holding the purple ring, she knocked the other ring away, but did not stop reaching for the orange ring with that hand. The ring was escaping faster than her progress. this activity all took place on an unmade bed where a crumpled sheet lay alongside the path between Peggy and the orange ring. Peggy pulled HARD on the sheet several times (but the ring did not move – begin on a separate undersheet) then pulled the loose sheet to her mouth. Is this an accident ? Or is it a good trick Peggy has already mastered for drawing to her things beyond her reach ?
When Peggy finally began crying over her failure, I placed the orange ring on a different part of the bed, on Peggy’s other side at the outer periphery of her reach. In her first attempt to get it, Peggy pulled on the bed sheet (the undersheet, on which she lay and which was not moveable as the over sheet was). Next, she reached with her hand. when she hit the orange ring, it flipped over the near edge and came within easy reach. When she finally grasped the orange ring, Peggy ended her excursions by rolling onto her back.
My conclusions from these observations are that Peggy does not take account in her reaching of whether she already has some object in her hand; she knows that some surfaces are separable from their substrate and can be manipulated — but she doesn’t yet realize that to access a desired object by pulling at a surface that object MUST be on the surface; the second attempt to get the orange ring b y pulling the fixed sheet indicates why this may not be so easy to figure out as one would first imagine.