Children's photograph selections and verbal reports in a spatial task

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    The tendency for children to select a photograph of their own view of a scene when asked to represent the view seen by another observer in a different position has been attributed to an egocentric view of the world. It seems likely, however, that the egocentric response need not necessarily be related to the question of sensitivity to the viewpoints of others. Rather, it may reflect the way in which children treat two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional arrays in mental-rotation tasks. In the present investigation, strong visual and verbal cues were given for correct selection of a photograph of another observer's view in a perspective-shift task. Justifications for choices were required. Whilst floor effects were seen with children 3 to 4 years old, the responses of 8-year olds polarised into a choice between the correct and egocentric view, as Freeman would predict. Verbal justifications for these choices were mainly in terms of appropriate content. After first selection, this chosen view was removed from the array. Two-thirds of children who had chosen egocentrically then went on to choose correctly on a second attempt. It is suggested that the egocentric response may form an easier alternative for the child, but that the provision of such an alternative may prevent the child from displaying the knowledge that he or she has.
    Original languageEnglish
    Volume12, 5
    Publication statusPublished - 1983


    • Child Development
    • Child, Preschool
    • Discrimination Learning
    • Female
    • *Form Perception
    • Humans
    • Male
    • *Orientation
    • *Pattern Recognition, Visual
    • Semantics
    • *Verbal Behavior


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