Nora S. Newcombe

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There is evidence, beginning with Cheng (1986), that mobile animals may use the geometry of surrounding areas to reorient following disorientation. Gallistel (1990) proposed that geometry is used to compute the major or minor axes of space and suggested that such information might form an encapsulated cognitive module. Research reviewed here, conducted on a(More)
The present paper is concerned with the representation of spatial location in young children. We report six experiments which indicate that the basic framework for coding location is present early in life. Later development consists of an increasing ability to impose organization on a broad range of bounded spaces. In the first four experiments, we examined(More)
Having good spatial skills strongly predicts achievement and attainment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields (e.g., Shea, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2001; Wai, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2009). Improving spatial skills is therefore of both theoretical and practical importance. To determine whether and to what extent training and experience can(More)
Previous studies have shown that disoriented children use the geometric features of the environment to reorient, but the results have not consistently demonstrated whether children can combine such information with landmark information. Results indicating that they cannot suggest the existence of a geometric module for reorientation. However results(More)
Mobile organisms can keep track of spatial location (both their own location and that of objects in the environment) using either an external referent system or one centered on the self and updated by information about movement through space. When the latter system is disabled (e.g., by rapid turning), aspects of the external world must be used to(More)
Demonstrations of cognitive competence in preschool children and infants played an important role in the waning influence of Piagetian theory and the rise of nativism. Arguments and data favoring modularity have further buttressed the casefor nativism. This article reviews evidence concerning early competence and modularity in the spatial and quantitative(More)
Adults represent the location of a point in a 2-dimensional space using 2 independent dimensions. They encode location along these dimensions both at a fine-grained level and categorically. In reporting location, they combine and weight the fine-grained and categorical information. In Experiment 1, we found that children as young as 5 years use the same 2(More)
Being able to reorient to the spatial environment after disorientation is a basic adaptive challenge. There is clear evidence that reorientation uses geometric information about the shape of the surrounding space. However, there has been controversy concerning whether use of geometry is a modular function, and whether use of features is dependent on human(More)
Proponents of a geometric module claim that human adults accomplish spatial reorientation in a fundamentally different way than young children and nonhuman animals do. However, reporting two experiments that used a conflict paradigm, this article shows striking similarities between human adults and young children, as well as nonhuman animals. Specifically,(More)
The purpose of this study was to contrast children’s event-related potentials (ERPs) with those of adults in an item recognition memory task. Four-year-old children and adults were presented with pictorial images, one half of which had been previously shown, and were asked to indicate whether each picture had been seen before. In both samples, an old–new(More)