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The Spatial Foundations of Language and Cognition$
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Kelly S. Mix, Linda B. Smith, and Michael Gasser

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199553242

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553242.001.0001

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Perspectives on Spatial Development

Perspectives on Spatial Development

Chapter:
(p.87) 5 Perspectives on Spatial Development
Source:
The Spatial Foundations of Language and Cognition
Author(s):

Janellen Huttenlocher

Stella F. Lourenco

Marina Vasilyeva

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553242.003.0005

The ability to locate objects in the environment is adaptively important for mobile organisms. Research on location coding reveals that even toddlers have considerable spatial skill. Important information has been obtained using a ‘disorientation’ task in which children watch a target object being hidden and are then blindfolded and rotated so they cannot track their changing relation to the target. Even toddlers under 2 years search successfully for the hidden object, showing that they can use geometric features of the spatial environment to determine object location. It has been claimed that these results show innate geometric abilities, but there is evidence that these early spatial skills are not simply geometric. The abilities toddlers exhibit involve the ability to use scalar cues to determine object location.

Keywords:   spatial coding, disorientation, geometric cues, object location

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