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Child Dev. 1984 Dec;55(6):2204-11.

An information-processing analysis of children's accuracy in predicting the appearance of rotated stimuli.


Children's ability to discriminate reflections and rotations of visual stimuli was examined using a kinetic imagery task. It was hypothesized that success would be related to the number and placement of orientation markers on the stimuli, as well as whether or not reflections had to be discriminated from simple rotations. 40 4- and 5-year-old children were directed to imagine how a stimulus would look if rotated to a specified location and asked to indicate the appearance of the reoriented stimulus by selecting the correct option from a number of foils. 48 of the items required only discrimination of a reoriented stimulus. The other 48 also required discrimination of a reflection of the reoriented stimulus. Stimuli differed in the number of orientation cues on the edges of the figures. Results revealed that prediction accuracy was associated with the existence of orientation markers on the stimuli, as well as age, sex, type of discrimination, and several interactions among the variables. Findings were discussed in comparison to a priori predictions based on an analysis of how children might use orientation information when performing mental rotation tasks.

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