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ERIC Number: EJ1063248
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jul
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
Switching from Reaching to Navigation: Differential Cognitive Strategies for Spatial Memory in Children and Adults
Belmonti, Vittorio; Cioni, Giovanni; Berthoz, Alain
Developmental Science, v18 n4 p569-586 Jul 2015
Navigational and reaching spaces are known to involve different cognitive strategies and brain networks, whose development in humans is still debated. In fact, high-level spatial processing, including allocentric location encoding, is already available to very young children, but navigational strategies are not mature until late childhood. The Magic Carpet (MC) is a new electronic device translating the traditional Corsi Block-tapping Test (CBT) to navigational space. In this study, the MC and the CBT were used to assess spatial memory for navigation and for reaching, respectively. Our hypothesis was that school-age children would not treat MC stimuli as navigational paths, assimilating them to reaching sequences. Ninety-one healthy children aged 6 to 11 years and 18 adults were enrolled. Overall short-term memory performance (span) on both tests, effects of sequence geometry, and error patterns according to a new classification were studied. Span increased with age on both tests, but relatively more in navigational than in reaching space, particularly in males. Sequence geometry specifically influenced navigation, not reaching. The number of body rotations along the path affected MC performance in children more than in adults, and in women more than in men. Error patterns indicated that navigational sequences were increasingly retained as global paths across development, in contrast to separately stored reaching locations. A sequence of spatial locations can be coded as a navigational path only if a cognitive switch from a "reaching mode" to a "navigation mode" occurs. This implies the integration of egocentric and allocentric reference frames, of visual and idiothetic cues, and access to long-term memory. This switch is not yet fulfilled at school age due to immature executive functions.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A