Mental spatial transformations of objects and bodies: Different developmental trajectories in children from 7 to 11 years of age

Cristiano Crescentini, Franco Fabbro, Cosimo Urgesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the large body of knowledge on adults suggesting that 2 basic types of mental spatial transformation-namely, object-based and egocentric perspective transformations-are dissociable and specialized for different situations, there is much less research investigating the developmental aspects of such spatial transformation systems. Here, an "own body transformation" paradigm and a letter transformation task were employed in a group of children ranging from 7 to 11 years of age to respectively investigate the development of egocentric perspective transformations and object-related transformations. A group of 30 young adults was also administered the 2 experimental tasks. Moreover, the Temperament and Character Inventory (Cloninger, Przybeck, Svrakic, & Wetzel, 1994) was also administered to children and adults with the goal of testing for possible influences of personality traits on imagined perspective transformation abilities. We found that egocentric perspective transformations develop later than objectbased transformations-namely, from 8 rather than 7 years of age. We also found that high scores on temperament and character scales reflecting the acceptance of others (i.e., cooperativeness) were positively related to the ability to engage in imagined perspective transformations, especially when such ability first appears (i.e., at 8 years of age). These findings were held to support the view that the 2 mental spatial transformation systems are separated in that they follow 2 different developmental trajectories and are differentially influenced by personality traits in children

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-383
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Child development
  • Egocentric perspective transformation
  • Left-right judgment
  • Mental rotation
  • Temperament and Character Inventory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Demography


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