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 longstanding claim that understanding relational correspondence is a general component of representational understanding (Perner, 1991). Two experiments with 175 preschool children located in Norwich, UK examined use of a scale model (DeLoache, 1987) 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 model and room was ineffective. We find no evidence for understanding relational correspondence as a general component of representational understanding.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Nov 2022


  • Spatial correspondence
  • Model Room task
  • False Belief task
  • Theory of Mind

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