DIFFERENCES IN SCENE RECOGNITION AT SPATIAL DECISION POINTS
Sally Ellen Doherty
Degree: Ph.D. in Education
University of California Santa Barbara
The primary purpose
of this study was to determine if children who live in a neighborhood have differential
knowledge about choice points and non-choice points on frequently traveled routes.
The secondary purpose was to determine if knowledge for neighborhood locations
varies as a function of age.
children ranging in age from seven to fifteen years, all
residents of a suburban neighborhood, were tested on a scene
recognition task containing slide views taken at decision
points and non-decision points from their own neighborhood
and distractor neighborhoods. Decision points were operationalized
as any type of intersection or location where streets join.
Non-decision points were operationalized as locations along
streets between intersections. The study also explored differences
due to type of scene presented: sidewalk views versus
plots with information about a single house and yard.
indicated that neighborhood scenes at intersections are recognized more accurately
and faster than scenes along routes. This finding supports the prediction that
in a developing cognitive representation, more is known at spatial decision points
where alternative actions must be considered for navigational purposes. Recognition
performance improves with age, and there is a significant interaction of route
location and age which supports a three stage model of developing spatial cognition.
Young children show little differentiation of knowledge by route location; whereas
nine to twelve year old children demonstrate route representations with clear
differentiation. Performance of the oldest children suggests an emerging well-coordinated,
survey-type knowledge representation in which differentiation by route location
decreases. However, metrically-based representations do not simply supercede more
primitive route representations; both types of information are available for decision-making.
better knowledge for scenes depicting plots than views. This finding implies that
in a relatively homogenous suburban environment, plots-at-intersections become
landmarks for navigational decision-making and lends support to the position that
specific landmarks are learned within the context of learning routes. Recognition
decisions for views also take longer than plots, and response times increase markedly
for views in distractor neighborhoods whereas decisions for plots are unaffected.
These findings are interpreted as evidence of a plotframe or schemata which
facilitates recognition decisions for plots but not views.