Generalizing the dynamic field theory of the A-not-B error beyond infancy:Three-year-olds' delay- and experience-dependent location memory biases

Schutte, Anne R. and Spencer, John P. (2002) Generalizing the dynamic field theory of the A-not-B error beyond infancy:Three-year-olds' delay- and experience-dependent location memory biases. Child Development, 73 (2). pp. 377-404. ISSN 0009-3920

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Abstract

Thelen and colleagues recently proposed a dynamic field theory (DFT) to capture the general processes that give rise to infants' performance in the Piagetian A-not-B task. According to this theory, the same general processes should operate in noncanonical A-not-B-type tasks with children older than 12 months. Three predictions of the DFT were tested by examining 3-year-olds' location memory errors in a task with a homogeneous task space. Children pointed to remembered locations after delays of 0 s to 10 s. The spatial layout of the possible targets and the frequency with which children moved to each target was varied. As predicted by the DFT, children's responses showed a continuous spatial drift during delays toward a longer term memory of previously moved-to locations. Furthermore, these delay-dependent effects were reduced when children moved to an "A" location on successive trials, and were magnified on the first trial to a nearby "B" location. Thus, the DFT generalized to capture the performance of 3-year-old children in a new task. In contrast to predictions of the DFT, however, 3-year-olds' responses were also biased toward the midline of the task space - an effect predicted by the category adjustment (CA) model. These data suggest that young children's spatial memory responses are affected by delay- and experience-dependent processes as well as the geometric structure of the task space. Consequently, two current models of spatial memory - the DFT and the CA model - provide incomplete accounts of children's location memory abilities.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2015 17:02
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 11:21
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/55278
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