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Child Dev. 1991 Feb;62(1):111-26.

Physical similarity and young children's understanding of scale models.

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Human Development & Family Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801.


Young children's understanding of the correspondence between a scale model and a larger space is affected by the degree of physical similarity between the 2 spaces. In 4 studies, children between 2.5 and 3.5 years of age watched as a miniature toy was hidden somewhere in a scale model of a room. They were then asked to find an analogous toy that was hidden in the corresponding place in the room itself. The effects of different levels of 3 types of physical similarity were investigated. In general, the children's retrieval scores increased as a function of increasing similarity, although younger children required a higher degree of similarity to appreciate the model-room correspondence than did older children. Some types of similarity were more important than others: The level of similarity between the objects within the 2 spaces and of the overall size of the spaces both had large effects on the children's performance. Similarity presumably affects accessibility, the likelihood that children's representation of one space will provide access to their representation of the other space.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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