Environmental-scale map use in middle childhood: Links to spatial skills, strategies, and gender

Lynn S. Liben, Lauren J. Myers, Adam E. Christensen, Corinne A. Bower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Researchers have shown that young children solve mapping tasks in small spaces, but have rarely tested children's performance in large, unfamiliar environments. In the current research, children (9-10 years; N = 40) explored an unfamiliar campus and marked flags' locations on a map. As hypothesized, better performance was predicted by higher spatial-test scores, greater spontaneous use of map-space coordinating strategies, and participant sex (favoring boys). Data supported some but not all hypotheses about the roles of specific spatial skills for mapping performance. Data patterns were similar on a computer mapping task that displayed environmental-scale videos of walks through a park. Patterns of children's mapping errors suggested both idiosyncratic and common mapping strategies that should be addressed in future research and educational interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2047-2063
Number of pages17
JournalChild development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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