ERIC Number: EJ792588
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Reorientation in the Real World: The Development of Landmark Use and Integration in a Natural Environment
Smith, Alastair D.; Gilchrist, Iain D.; Cater, Kirsten; Ikram, Naimah; Nott, Kylie; Hood, Bruce M.
Cognition, v107 n3 p1102-1111 Jun 2008
An influential series of studies have argued that young children are unable to use landmark information to reorient. However, these studies have used artificial experimental environments that may lead to an underestimation of the children's ability. We tested whether young children could reorient using landmarks in an ecologically valid setting. Children aged between 3 and 7 years completed a reorientation task in open parkland, and the properties of the search array (size and distinctiveness) were manipulated in a within-subjects design. Responses were recorded using Global Positioning Systems technology. All age groups performed above chance level, demonstrating that young children can reorient using natural landmarks. This behaviour was modulated by the nature of the search array: children were more accurate when the locations were spaced in a large array, and when the search locations were distinctively coloured. This suggests that the integration between landmarks and search locations, at different spatial scales, is a key factor in characterising human reorientation in the real world.
Descriptors: Spatial Ability, Young Children, Information Technology, Orientation, Environment, Ecology, Task Analysis, Age Differences, Cognitive Processes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A