How visuo-spatial mental imagery develops: Image generation and maintenance

Marina C. Wimmer, Katie L. Maras, Elizabeth J. Robinson, Martin Doherty, Nicolas Pugeault

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Abstract

Two experiments examined the nature of visuo-spatial mental imagery generation and maintenance in 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-year old children and adults (N = 211). The key questions were how image generation and maintenance develop (Experiment 1) and how accurately chil- dren and adults coordinate mental and visually perceived images (Experiment 2). Experi- ment 1 indicated that basic image generation and maintenance abilities are present at 4 years of age but the precision with which images are generated and maintained improves particularly between 4 and 8 years. In addition to increased precision, Experiment 2 demon- strated that generated and maintained mental images become increasingly similar to visu- ally perceived objects. Altogether, findings suggest that for simple tasks demanding image generation and maintenance, children attain adult-like precision younger than previously reported. This research also sheds new light on the ability to coordinate mental images with visual images in children and adults.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0142566
JournalPLoS One
Volume10
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2015

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