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The development of left-right decentration in four- to seven-year old children

  • Anne Ghysselinckx-Janssens
  • Christiane Vandenplas-Holper
Article
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Abstract

The study tries to disentangle the processes of left-right discrimination on self and on other refrents. Ninety-six 4- to 7- year old children were individually given several situations requiring left-right discrimination on self and decentration. Three related tasks were also presented: a lateralization task, an orientation task and a projection task. A semi-structured interview was finally conducted in which children explained their comprehension of left-right discrimination. Body rotations were recorded in the various tasks and during the interview. Correct deictic gestures and a measure of the children’s reasoning in the interview were also obtained. With respect to left-right discrimination on self, it was hypothesized that this kind of knowledge is anchored in the body and related to the lateralization measure. With respect to decentration, a task analysis was conducted. It was predicted that orientation and projection tasks are simple tasks mastered before left-right decentration, a complex task into which the simple tasks have to be integrated. Decentration requiring the coordination of an invariant component and of the variant component of orientation was expected to be positively correlated with body rotations. Different methodological improvements referring to reliability and validity were also introduced into the different assessment procedures. Results are confronted with the Piagetian hypothesis of interiorization of overt action into representation. An alternative hypothesis is proposed: it ties together the constellation of results obtained in the present study, and in recent studies referring to children’s cognitive development and adult’s nonverbal behavior.

Key words

Anchoring Body rotations Left-right decentration 

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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Ghysselinckx-Janssens
    • 1
  • Christiane Vandenplas-Holper
    • 1
  1. 1.Unité de Psychologie du Développement HumainUniversité Catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgique

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