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Mental Spatial Transformations in 14- and 16-Month-Old Infants: Effects of Action and Observational Experience

Authors

  • Andrea Frick,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of California, Santa Cruz
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Psychology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
    • Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Andrea Frick, Institut für Psychologie, Universität Bern, Muesmattstr 45, CH-3000 Bern 9, Switzerland, or Su-hua Wang, Department of Psychology, University of California, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064. Electronic mail may be sent to depsy@gmx.net or suhua@ucsc.edu.

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  • Su-hua Wang

    1. University of California, Santa Cruz
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  • This research was supported by research grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation to A.F. and from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation to S.W., as well as a Faculty Research Grant awarded by the Committee of Research from UCSC to S.W. We thank Shinchieh Duh, Alyssa Givenco, and Alexa Beaman for their help with data collection.

Abstract

Infants' ability to mentally track the orientation of an object during a hidden rotation was investigated (= 28 in each experiment). A toy on a turntable was fully covered and then rotated 90°. When revealed, the toy had turned with the turntable (probable event), remained at its starting orientation (improbable event in Experiment 1), or turned to the opposite side (improbable event in Experiment 2). Results demonstrated a developmental progression between 14 and 16 months of age in infants' sensitivity to spatial object relations and their ability to track the orientation of an object during hidden rotation. Experiment 3 showed that 14-month-olds' performance improved with hands-on training, highlighting the role of action experience in cognitive development.

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