Developmental Changes in Spatial Clustering as a Function of Object Relatedness
Violante, Christina F.
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People's memory for object locations is biased. If people know that objects are grouped together, they tend to cluster objects around a spatial center. Furthermore, research suggests that there are developmental differences in spatial clustering. In this study, 7-, 9-, 11- year-olds, and adults remembered 20 objects divided into 4 categories. Objects were either high- or low-related. Objects were spatially grouped together in each category. After learning the locations, participants replaced the objects by memory. Older children and adults had significantly higher center displacement scores compared to younger children in both the high-related and low-related object condition. Additionally, younger children had higher metric error scores compared to older children and adults only in the low-related but not the high-related object condition. The results of the present study add support to a body of work suggesting spatial bias might decrease metric error. Younger children might have exhibited less spatial clustering and higher metric error due to the Category Adjustment model, hierarchical theories, or the forming of associative pairs of objects instead of groups. Additionally, these findings suggest a cyclical developmental pattern of spatial clustering due to organism-environment interactions.