The relation between spatial perspective taking and inhibitory control in 6-year-old children.
Although recent research indicates that an increased sensitivity to visual appearances develops around 4 or 5 years of age, evidence from perceptual studies suggests that certain types of appearances, that is, projective size and shape, are not noticed or understood until at least 7. 4 experiments investigated preschool children's knowledge of the projective size--distance and projective shape--orientation relationships. In Experiment 1, 3- and 4-year-olds were asked whether an object should be moved farther or nearer in order to increase or decrease its apparent size. 4-year-olds performed significantly better than chance, but 3-year-olds did not. Experiment 2 showed that 3-year-olds are able to perceive projective size changes, indicating that although they do not fully understand the projective size-distance relationship, the necessary perceptual information is potentially available to them. In Experiment 3, 3- and 4-year-olds were asked to indicate how a circular object should be rotated to make it appear either circular or elliptical. Again, 4-year-olds performed significantly better than chance, but 3-year-olds did not. Again also, the results of Experiment 4 indicate that although 3-year-olds are not aware of the projective shape-orientation relationship, they are capable of attending to changes in projective shape. Thus, the constraints on children's knowledge of the projective size-distance and projective shape-orientation relationships seem to be at least partly cognitive rather than wholly perceptual. These results are interpreted as further evidence for the acquisition of level 2 percept knowledge during early childhood.