Reorientation in a rhombic environment: No evidence for an encapsulated geometric module

Almut Hupbach, Lynn Nadel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Reorientation behavior of young children has been described as dependent upon a geometric module that is incapable of interacting with landmark information. Whereas previous studies typically used rectangular spaces that provided geometric information about distance, we used a rhombic space that allowed us to explore the way children use geometric information about angles. Reorientation was studied in manipulatory space (Experiment 1) and locomotor space (Experiment 2) in the presence and absence of a salient landmark. In the absence of salient landmarks, 4- to 6-year-olds used geometric features to reorient in both spaces. When a salient landmark was available in manipulatory space, 4-year-olds used the landmark and ignored the geometry. Five- and 6-year-olds used the geometry, but in combination with the landmark. In locomotor space, this combined use was already seen at age 4, and increased with age. Taken together, these results offer no support for the notion that reorientation behavior in young children depends on an informationally encapsulated geometric module.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-302
Number of pages24
JournalCognitive Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Cognitive development
  • Geometric module
  • Spatial memory
  • Spatial orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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