Re: Object Constancy

From: Minnett-Westwood, Della (
Date: Thu May 01 1997 - 12:17:49 BST

> > > (16) Object Constancy is:
> > >
> > > A. *seeing something as the same whether near or far
> > > C. seeing something as the same whether big or small
> >
> > I took C. to mean "seeing something as the same whether it's image on
> > your retina is big or small" ie. a blow-up of a picture to A3 being the
> > same as the original on A4, or whatever. It's a bit confusing. Why is
> > C. wrong?
> Because object constancy is about seeing something as the same THING
> whether near or far, upside down or right-side up, rotated or unrotated,
> etc.
> Seeing a shape as the same shape whether bigger or small is not object
> constancy (and actually we would not speak about it as a constancy at
> all), because a big thing and a little thing, even if their shape is the
> same, is not the same thing. They're only the same KIND or thing (or,
> better, the same SHAPE, but not the same thing).

Surely A and C are both right? For instance, you see that Big Ben is
Big Ben whether you are standing right next to it (i.e. near) or if you
are looking across the Thames at it (i.e. far). Therefore A is right.
But when you are standing next to it, Big Ben looks pretty big, because
it is near, and from across the Thames it looks smaller, because it is
further away. But you still recognise it as Big Ben. Surely C and A are
linked - if something is far away then it is small, and if it is near
then it is big?

> Here are two events that will cast exactly the same "shadow" on your
> retina: (1) a faraway sphere, moving closer and closer; (2)
> a small sphere, growing bigger and bigger. You would see the first thing
> as being the same size, despite the growth of its shadow on your retina,
> but you would see the second thing as growing (and that's not a
> constancy!).

I know that (2) is not a constancy as it is changing from a
small sphere to a big sphere, but so is (1) - I'm afraid I
don't agree that I would see (1) as being the same size,
because my image of it would be growing. However, I would be
able to recognise it as the same thing. This is very
confusing!! Minnett-Westwood, Della.

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