Everyday scale errors

Elizabeth A. Ware, David H. Uttal, Judy S. Deloache

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Young children occasionally make scale errors- they attempt to fit their bodies into extremely small objects or attempt to fit a larger object into another, tiny, object. For example, a child might try to sit in a dollhouse-sized chair or try to stuff a large doll into it. Scale error research was originally motivated by parents' and researchers' informal accounts of these behaviors. However, scale errors have only been documented using laboratory procedures designed to promote their occurrence. To formally document the occurrence of scale errors in everyday settings, we posted a survey on the internet. Across two studies, participants reported many examples of everyday scale errors that are similar to those observed in our labs and were committed by children of the same age. These findings establish that scale errors occur in the course of children's daily lives, lending further support to the account that these behaviors stem from general aspects of visual processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-36
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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