Children's use of landmarks: Implications for modularity theory

Amy E. Learmonth, Lynn Nadel, Nora S. Newcombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

238 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that disoriented children use the geometric features of the environment to reorient, but the results have not consistently demonstrated whether children can combine such information with landmark information. Results indicating that they cannot suggest the existence of a geometric module for reorientation. However, results indicating that children can use geometric information in combination with landmark information challenge the modularity interpretation. An uncontrolled variable in the studies yielding conflicting results has been the size of the experimental space. In the present studies, which tested young children in spaces of two different sizes, the size of the space affected their ability to use available landmark information. In the small space, the children did not use the landmark to reorient, but in the large space they did. The ability of children to use landmarks in combination with geometric information raises important questions about the existence of an encapsulated geometric module.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-341
Number of pages5
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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