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Visuospatial biases in preschool children: Evidence from line bisection in three-dimensional space


Patro, Katarzyna; Nuerk, Hans-Christoph; Brugger, Peter (2018). Visuospatial biases in preschool children: Evidence from line bisection in three-dimensional space. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 173:16-27.

Abstract

Spatial attention in adults is characterized by systematic asymmetries across all three spatial dimensions. These asymmetries are evident when participants bisect horizontal, vertical, or radial lines and misplace their midpoints to the left, the top, or far from the body, respectively. However, bisection errors are rarely examined during early childhood. In this study, we examined the development of spatial-attentional asymmetries in three-dimensional (3D) space by asking preschool children (aged 3-6 years) to bisect horizontal, vertical, and radial lines. Children erred to the left with horizontal lines and to the top with vertical lines, consistent with the pattern reported in adults. These biases got stronger with age and were absent in the youngest preschoolers. However, by controlling for a possible failure in hitting the line, we observed an additional unpredicted pattern: Children's pointing systematically deviated away from the line to an empty space on its left side (for vertical and radial lines) or above it (for horizontal lines). Notably, this task-irrelevant deviation was pronounced in children as young as 3 or 4 years. We conclude that asymmetries in spatial-attentional functions should be measured not only in task-relevant dimensions but also in task-irrelevant dimensions because the latter may reveal biases in very young children not typically observed in task-relevant measures.

Abstract

Spatial attention in adults is characterized by systematic asymmetries across all three spatial dimensions. These asymmetries are evident when participants bisect horizontal, vertical, or radial lines and misplace their midpoints to the left, the top, or far from the body, respectively. However, bisection errors are rarely examined during early childhood. In this study, we examined the development of spatial-attentional asymmetries in three-dimensional (3D) space by asking preschool children (aged 3-6 years) to bisect horizontal, vertical, and radial lines. Children erred to the left with horizontal lines and to the top with vertical lines, consistent with the pattern reported in adults. These biases got stronger with age and were absent in the youngest preschoolers. However, by controlling for a possible failure in hitting the line, we observed an additional unpredicted pattern: Children's pointing systematically deviated away from the line to an empty space on its left side (for vertical and radial lines) or above it (for horizontal lines). Notably, this task-irrelevant deviation was pronounced in children as young as 3 or 4 years. We conclude that asymmetries in spatial-attentional functions should be measured not only in task-relevant dimensions but also in task-irrelevant dimensions because the latter may reveal biases in very young children not typically observed in task-relevant measures.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Developmental and Educational Psychology
Language:English
Date:September 2018
Deposited On:25 Jan 2019 10:09
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 08:59
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0022-0965
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2018.03.002
PubMed ID:29649699

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