Young children’s use of surface and object information in drawings of everyday scenes.

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Pictorial symbols such as photographs, drawings, and maps are ubiquitous in modern cultures. Nevertheless, it remains unclear how children relate these symbols to the scenes that they represent. The present work investigates 4-year-old children’s (N = 144) sensitivity to extended surface layouts and objects when using drawings of a room to find locations in that room. Children used either extended surfaces or objects when interpreting drawings, but they did not combine these two types of information to disambiguate target locations. Moreover, children’s evaluations of drawings depicting surfaces or objects did not align with their use of such information in those drawings. These findings suggest that pictures of all kinds serve as media in which children deploy symbolic spatial skills flexibly and automatically.

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Last updated on 11/10/2016