One of the hallmarks of human intelligence is the ability to quickly extract and encode spatial relations. Yet little is known about how this ability evolved, about its relation to human language, and about the neural mechanisms that support it. We have begun to examine the development of spatial cognition using a developmental approach to shed light on these issues. We have two alternative hypotheses: 1) the same underlying mechanisms operate in processing two sets of spatial relations – above/below (A/B) and left/right (L/R), or (2) different mechanisms are involved and are reflected by the order in which terms for these relations are learned by human children. We tested these hypotheses by examining the performance of children between 5 and 11 years old on a verbal and nonverbal task of spatial reasoning. We will follow up this study with an investigation of the neural processing of these relations in adults.
University of Minnesota Interdisciplinary doctoral fellowship
Scott, Nicole M.; Sera, Maria D.; Georgopoulos, Apostolos P..
Developing relations between spatial knowledge and spatial language in human children.
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