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Developmental changes in spatial frame of reference among preschoolers: Spontaneous gestures and speech in route descriptions

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Sekine, K. (2006). Developmental changes in spatial frame of reference among preschoolers: Spontaneous gestures and speech in route descriptions. The Japanese journal of developmental psychology, 17(3), 263-271.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-0975-B
Abstract
This research investigated how spontaneous gestures during speech represent “Frames of Reference” (FoR) among preschool children, and how their FoRs change with age. Four-, five-, and six-year-olds (N=55) described the route from the nursery school to their own homes. Analysis of children’s utterances and gestures showed that mean length of utterance, speech time, and use of landmarks or right/left terms to describe a route, all increased with age. Most of 4-year-olds made gestures in the direction of the actual route to their homes, and their hands tend to be raised above the shoulder. In contrast, 6-year-olds used gestures to give directions that did not match the actual route, as if they were creating a virtual space in front of the speaker. Some 5- and 6-year-olds produced gestures that represented survey mapping. These results indicated that development of FoR in childhood may change from an egocentric FoR to a fixed FoR. As factors underlying development of FoR, verbal encoding skills and the commuting experience were also discussed.