Differences in Young Children's Ability to Understand Frames of Reference
Herzog, Lauren E.
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Research has shown that children understand viewer-based frames of reference at younger ages than externally-based frames of reference. To examine children's comprehension of these two types of frames of reference, 28 mother-child dyads participated in an object location task. Mothers gave their 3-year-old children directions to' locate an object hidden ·in one of two containers. Dyads were assigned to either the landmark condition, in which mothers had to use only a landmark to reference the location of the target container (externally-based), or to the person condition, in which mothers had to use only themselves to reference the target container (viewer-based). Greater search success was seen in the person condition than the landmark condition, suggesting that 3-year-olds have greatest facility with viewer-based than externally-based reference systems. Additionally, male children not only completed more trials in the landmark condition than female children, but they also showed higher rates of search success, suggesting a sex difference.in children's comprehension of externally-based frames of reference at age 3.