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Young Children’s Representations of Spatial and Functional Relationships between Objects
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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In: Child DevelopmentArticle in journal (Refereed) Submitted
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-96469OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-96469DiVA: diva2:171049
Available from: 2007-11-22 Created: 2007-11-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Fitting Objects Into Holes: On the Development of Spatial Cognition Skills
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fitting Objects Into Holes: On the Development of Spatial Cognition Skills
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Children’s ability to manipulate objects is the end-point of several important developments. To imagine objects in different positions greatly improves children’s action capabilities. They can relate objects to each other successfully, and plan actions involving more than one object. We know that one-year-olds can insert an object into an aperture. Earlier research has focused on the start and goal of such actions, but ignored the way in between. This thesis shows that children are unable to fit an object into an aperture unless they can imagine the different projections of the object and rotate it in advance. The problem of how to proceed with an object-aperture matching was studied in 14- to 40-month-old children with a box, different holes and a set of fitting wooden blocks. Study I focused on how to orient a single object to make it fit. Studies II and III added a second object or aperture, introducing choice. In Study I there was a huge difference between 18 and 22 months in solving the fitting problem. Successful insertion was related to appropriate pre-adjustments. The older children pre-adjusted the object orientation before arriving at the aperture(s). The younger used a feedback strategy and that did not work for this task. To choose was more difficult than expected; one must not only choose one alternative, but also inhibit the other. Fifteen-month-olds were unable to choose between sizes and shapes, 20-month-olds could choose between sizes, 30-month-olds could choose between sizes and shapes, but not even 40-month-olds could choose between objects with different triangular cross-sections. Finally, the relationships between an object and an aperture, supporting surface or form were investigated. When comparing tasks requiring relationships between an object’s positive and an aperture’s negative form, between a 3D and a 2D, and between two 3D-forms, we found that the main difficulties is relating positive and negative form.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2007. 84 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 34
Psychology, toddlers, action planning, manipulation, means-end relationships, mental rotation, choice, positive-negative form, Psykologi
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8316 (URN)978-91-554-7028-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-12-13, XI, Universitetshuset, Box 256, 751 05 Uppsala, Uppsala, 10:00
Available from: 2007-11-22 Created: 2007-11-22 Last updated: 2010-12-27Bibliographically approved

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