Document Detail

The importance of gesture in children's spatial reasoning.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17087558     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
On average, men outperform women on mental rotation tasks. Even boys as young as 4 1/2 perform better than girls on simplified spatial transformation tasks. The goal of our study was to explore ways of improving 5-year-olds' performance on a spatial transformation task and to examine the strategies children use to solve this task. We found that boys performed better than girls before training and that both boys and girls improved with training, whether they were given explicit instruction or just practice. Regardless of training condition, the more children gestured about moving the pieces when asked to explain how they solved the spatial transformation task, the better they performed on the task, with boys gesturing about movement significantly more (and performing better) than girls. Gesture thus provides useful information about children's spatial strategies, raising the possibility that gesture training may be particularly effective in improving children's mental rotation skills.
Stacy B Ehrlich; Susan C Levine; Susan Goldin-Meadow
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Developmental psychology     Volume:  42     ISSN:  0012-1649     ISO Abbreviation:  Dev Psychol     Publication Date:  2006 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-11-07     Completed Date:  2007-01-23     Revised Date:  2007-12-03    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0260564     Medline TA:  Dev Psychol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1259-68     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Child, Preschool
Concept Formation / physiology*
Photic Stimulation
Sex Factors
Space Perception / physiology*
Spatial Behavior / physiology*
Grant Support
T32 HD043729-01A1/HD/NICHD NIH HHS

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