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The Emerging Spatial Mind$
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Jodie M. Plumert and John P. Spencer

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195189223

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189223.001.0001

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On the Infant's Prelinguistic Conception of Spatial Relations

On the Infant's Prelinguistic Conception of Spatial Relations

Three Developmental Trends and Their Implications for Spatial Language Learning

(p.117) 6 On the Infant's Prelinguistic Conception of Spatial Relations
The Emerging Spatial Mind

Paul C. Quinn

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a review of a line of studies suggesting that infants prior to one year of age are not completely flexible in terms of the spatial relations that they can represent and that developmental trends occur prelinguistically that may subsequently be reflected in spatial language learning. It suggests that nonlinguistic spatial-concept formation may have implications for spatial-language acquisition. In examining the evidence, it emphasizes descriptions of developmental changes that have been observed in spatial cognition during the period prior to language production: from birth to 10 months of age. The focus is placed on the representation of small-scale, two-dimensional, spatial-relational concepts, including ABOVE, BELOW, LEFT, RIGHT, and BETWEEN. The data indicate that well before infants are producing language, they are forming category representations for spatial relations.

Keywords:   prelinguistic conception, spatial relations, infant, spatial language, learning, spatial development

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