Spatial Transformation; Mental Rotation; Perspective Taking; Spatial Scaling; Cognitive Development; Spatial Skills; Individual Differences; Assessment
Frick Andrea, Baumeler Denise (2017), The relation between spatial perspective taking and inhibitory control in 6-year-old children, in Psychological Research
, 81, 730-739.
Frick Andrea, Möhring Wenke (2016), A matter of balance: Motor control is related to children’s spatial scaling and proportional reasoning skills, in Frontiers in Psychology
, 6, 2049.
Frick Andrea, Möhring Wenke, Newcombe Nora S. (2014), Development of mental transformation abilities, in Trends in Cognitive Sciences
, 18, 536-542.
Frick Andrea, Möhring Wenke, Newcombe Nora S. (2014), Picturing perspectives: Development of perspective-taking abilities in 4- to 8-year-olds, in Frontiers in Psychology
, 5, 386.
Möhring Wenke, Newcombe Nora S., Frick Andrea (2014), Zooming in on spatial scaling: Preschool children and adults use mental transformations to scale spaces., in Developmental psychology
, 50, 1614-1619.
Frick Andrea, Hansen Melissa A., Newcombe Nora S. (2013), Development Development of mental rotation in 3- to 5-year-old children, in Cognitive Development
, 28, 386-399.
Frick Andrea, Hansen Melissa A., Newcombe Nora S. (2013), Development of mental rotation in 3- to 5-year-old children, in Cognitive Development
, 28, 386-399.
Frick Andrea, Moehring Wenke (2013), Mental object rotation and motor development in 8- and 10-month-old infants, in JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL CHILD PSYCHOLOGY
, 115(4), 708-720.
Lourenco Stella F., Frick Andrea (2013), Remembering where: The origins and early development of spatial memory, in Patricia J. Bauer & Robyn Fivush (ed.), 361-393.
Möhring Wenke, Frick Andrea (2013), Touching up mental rotation: Effects of manual experience on 6-month-old infants' mental object rotation., in Child development
, 84(5), 1554-65.
The ability to represent and reason about objects in space is a fundamental aspect of everyday cognition. In order to move around and interact with our environment, we must be able to represent our position with respect to our spatial surroundings, recognize objects from different perspectives, and anticipate object movements. Moreover, progress in various school disciplines seems to be strongly tied to people’s ability to reason about spatial configurations and their properties, research on spatial skills has often revealed wide individual differences, and children’s socio-economical background and gender seem to affect task performance. Fortunately, spatial skills have also been shown to be malleable, and mounting evidence suggests that we are able to train spatial thinking. However, in order to develop purposeful and well-directed interventions that can improve spatial abilities at a young age, we need to have a better understanding of the emergence of individual differences, the early developments, and the consequences of spatial skills. Thus, in the proposed study, I will investigate the development of spatial transformation abilities in the first years of life by applying a multi-level approach that combines longitudinal and cross-sectional data.A first aim of the proposed study is to find out how different mental spatial transformation abilities are related. We will take a comprehensive look at various mental spatial transformation skills, by having 5-year-old children participate in multiple tasks that test different mental transformation abilities. Analyses of individual differences and correlations among the tests will give us valuable information on how children understand these basic spatial transformations before entering school.A second aim of the proposed study is to take an in-depth look at the development of mental object rotation ability. To date, there are only a few studies that have investigated mental rotation in children younger that 5 years, and these studies yielded diverging results as to when this ability emerges and which factors influence young children’s performance. In the proposed study, I will develop and refine mental rotation paradigms for research with young children, in order to fill the gap between the infant and adult research. By testing children at different ages and comparing different mental rotation paradigms, I will investigate the early emergence and developmental trajectories of mental rotation. A third aim of the proposed study is to gain a better understanding of how individual differences in early spatial transformation performance contribute to children’s school achievement and cognitive development throughout early childhood. Thus, the proposed study will include a longitudinal approach, in which I will follow up on the children who completed the task battery at age 5, and assess their later cognitive skills and academic achievement.This multi-level approach will provide a rich and comprehensive picture of the development of mental spatial transformation abilities. By incorporating longitudinal data, we can gain deeper insight into the stability or malleability of individual differences over the course of development. Through utilizing a number of cross-sectional measures we will gain a broader understanding of individual differences in various spatial transformation abilities. It is crucial to add to our understanding of the ways in which relative strengths or weaknesses in different spatial transformation skills are related, in order to identify children at risk of developing delays at a young age, and to create tools for assessment and early intervention.