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Volume 10 Issue 6 (November 2007), Pages iii-iii, 713-925

Young children's use of scale models: testing an alternative to representational insight (pages 763-769)


Using a symbolic object such as a model as a source of information about something else requires some appreciation of the relation between the symbol and what it represents. Representational insight has been proposed as essential to success in a symbolic retrieval task in which children must use information from a hiding event in a scale model to find a toy hidden in a room. The two studies reported here examine and reject a proposed alternative account for success in the model task. The results with 2.5‐year‐olds and 3‐year‐olds show that children's successful use of a scale model cannot be attributed to the simple detection of the correspondences between the objects in the two spaces. A higher‐level representation of the model–room relation (i.e. representational insight) is required. The results are discussed with respect to the coalescence of multiple factors in determining performance in the model task.

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