Children's ability to discriminate reflections and rotations of visual stimuli was examined within the confines of a mental rotation task. It was hypothesized that success would be affected by both characteristics of the stimulus and by the subtlety of the discrimination required. Forty 3- to 4-year-old children were directed to mentally rotate a stimulus a given number of degrees and to discriminate the appearance of the rotated stimulus from among a set of alternatives. Four stimuli differing in the number of visual orientation cues were utilized across 24 trials. A significant effect was found for number of orientation cues, and data indicated the difficulty children experienced detecting reflections, a task which bears close resemblance to the yes/no option in prototypic rotation studies. Children were only successful with a limited range of stimuli when discrimination of a reflected foil was not required. Results are discussed in light of discrepant findings about children's kinetic imagery ability and the advisability of using this particular paradigm with young Children.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology