Young Children's Representation of Spatial Information Acquired From Maps

David H. Uttal, Henry M. Wellman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The early development of the ability to acquire integrated knowledge of a space from a map was investigated in 130 children, 4 to 7 years of age. Experiment 1 demonstrated that all 6- and 7-year-olds and many 4- and 5-year-olds could learn the layout of a large playhouse composed of six adjoined rooms by memorizing a map. Children who learned the map before entering the playhouse more quickly learned a route through it than children who were not exposed to the map, and older children performed significantly better than younger children. In Experiment 2 preschoolers learned a map of a space that contained six spatially separated small rooms within one large room. Children could therefore view the entire configuration of smaller rooms as they traveled around the larger room. Preschoolers performed significantly better in Experiment 2 than in Experiment 1, and the majority of them performed perfectly or almost perfectly. Taken together, the findings help to clarify young children's map-reading abilities in several respects and suggest that preschoolers' abilities are more substantial than has been assumed or demonstrated previously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-138
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Young Children's Representation of Spatial Information Acquired From Maps'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this