Core Knowledge and the Emergence of Symbols: The Case of Maps
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CitationHuang, Yi, and Elizabeth S. Spelke. 2014. Core Knowledge and the Emergence of Symbols: The Case of Maps. Journal of Cognition and Development (October 30): 1–16.
AbstractMap reading is unique to humans but is present in people of diverse cultures, at ages as young as 4 years old. Here, we explore the nature and sources of this ability and ask both what geometric information young children use in maps and what nonsymbolic systems are associated with their map-reading performance. Four-year-old children were given two tests of map-based navigation (placing an object within a small three-dimensional [3D] surface layout at a position indicated on a two-dimensional [2D] map), one focused on distance relations and the other on angle relations. Children also were given two nonsymbolic tasks, testing their use of geometry for navigation (a reorientation task) and for visual form analysis (a deviant-detection task). Although children successfully performed both map tasks, their performance on the two map tasks was uncorrelated, providing evidence for distinct abilities to represent distance and angle on 2D maps of 3D surface layouts. In contrast, performance on each map task was associated with performance on one of the two nonsymbolic tasks: Map-based navigation by distance correlated with sensitivity to the shape of the environment in the reorientation task, whereas map-based navigation by angle correlated with sensitivity to the shapes of 2D forms and patterns in the deviant-detection task. These findings suggest links between one uniquely human, emerging symbolic ability, geometric map use, and two core systems of geometry.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13406018
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