Understanding of spatial correspondence does not contribute to representational understanding: Evidence from the model room and false belief tasks

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We examine the long-standing claim that understanding relational correspondence is a general component of representational understanding. Two experiments with 175 preschool children located in Norwich, United Kingdom, examined the use of a scale model comparing performances on a “copy” task, measuring abstract spatial arrangement ability, and the false belief task. Consistent with previous studies, younger children performed well in scale model trials when objects were unique (e.g., one cupboard) but poorly at distinguishing objects using spatial layout (one of three identical chairs). Performance was specifically associated with Copy task but not False Belief performance. Emphasizing the representational relation between the model and the room was ineffective. We find no evidence for understanding relational correspondence as a general component of representational understanding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)976–986
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number5
Early online date9 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Spatial correspondence
  • Model Room task
  • False Belief task
  • Theory of Mind
  • theory of mind
  • spatial correspondence
  • false belief task
  • model room task

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