Sometimes losing your self in space: Children's and adults' spontaneous use of multiple spatial reference frames

Andrew D.R. Surtees, Matthijs Leendert Noordzij, Ian A. Apperly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two experiments tested 6- to 11-year-old children's and college students' use of different frames of reference when making judgments about descriptions of social and nonsocial scenes. In Experiment 1, when social and nonsocial scenes were mixed, both children and students (N = 144) showed spontaneous sensitivity to the intrinsic and the relative frame of reference for both social and nonsocial scenes. All groups over 7 years old showed a stronger effect of the intrinsic frame of reference for social stimuli. This is the first evidence of sensitivity to more than 1 frame of reference in individual judgments made by children. Experiment 2 tested a further sample of 6- to 11-year-old children and students (N = 185) with social and nonsocial scenes in separate blocks. In this study, participants were no longer sensitive to the relative frame of reference—an effect we characterize as “losing your self in space,” as this frame is generated by one's own position in the world. Children showed this effect only when the stimuli were social, suggesting that spontaneous use of intrinsic frames of spatial reference may develop out of sensitivity to the perspectives of agents. (PsycINFO Database Record
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-191
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2012

Keywords

  • IR-83291
  • METIS-288950

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