Academic Scholarship

Imagining a way out of the gravity bias: Preschoolers can visualize the solution to a spatial problem

Child Development, 82, 744-750, May 2011

Photo Needed Amy S. Joh, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Vikram K. Jaswal, Rachel Keen

Can young children visualize the solution to a difficult spatial problem? Forty-eight 3-year-olds were tested in a spatial reasoning paradigm in which they were asked to predict the path of a ball moving through one of three intertwined tubes. One group of children was asked to visualize the ball rolling down the tube before they made their predictions, a second group was given identical instructions without being asked to use visual imagery, and a third group was given no instructions. Children in the visualization condition performed significantly better than those in the other conditions, suggesting that encouraging young children to use visual imagery may help them to reason through difficult problems.


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