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Structure mapping in spatial reasoning

Gattis, Merideth Leigh 2002. Structure mapping in spatial reasoning. Cognitive Development 17 (2) , pp. 1157-1183. 10.1016/S0885-2014(02)00095-3

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Abstract

Four experiments examined whether spatial reasoning about non-spatial concepts is based on mapping concepts to space according to similarities in relational structure. Six- and 7-year-old children without any prior graphing experience were asked to reason with graph-like diagrams. In Experiments 1 and 2, children were taught to map time and quantity to vertical and horizontal lines, and then were asked to judge the relative value of a second-order variable (rate) or a first-order variable (quantity) represented in a function line. Children’s judgments indicated that they mapped concepts to space by aligning similar relational structures: quantity judgments corresponded to line height, and rate judgments corresponded to line slope. These correspondences entail a mapping of first-order concepts to first-order spatial dimensions and second-order concepts to second-order spatial dimensions. Experiments 3 and 4 investigated the role of context in establishing relational structure. Children were taught to map age and rate (Experiment 3) or age and size (Experiment 4) to vertical and horizontal lines, and were then asked to judge the rate or the size represented by a function line. In this context, both rate and size were first-order variables, and children’s judgments corresponded to line height, also a first-order variable. The results indicate that spatial reasoning involves a structure-sensitive mapping between concepts and space.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Spatial reasoning; Mapping; Graphs; Relational structure
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 08852014
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:50
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/3289

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