Object recognition and location: Which component of object location memory for landmarks is affected by gender? Evidence from four to ten year-old children

Alessia Bocchi, Liana Palermo, Maddalena Boccia, Massimiliano Palmiero, Simonetta D'Amico, Laura Piccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Memory for object location requires at least three processes: object recognition, object location, and object-location binding. Gender-related differences during childhood are still a matter of debate, especially concerning memory for object location, where females are expected to outperform males. Memory for object position is pivotal for spatial navigation and its investigation during childhood is crucial in order to understand the roots of gender-related differences in spatial orientation. Actually, environmental objects, namely landmarks, can be located using egocentric and/or allocentric frames of references, as well as using the spatial translation between them. Here, we investigated gender-related differences during childhood in object recognition and location whenever a shift between egocentric and allocentric frame of reference is required. Sixty-three boys and 44 girls (aged between four and ten years old) were asked to egocentrically learn a path on the Walking Corsi Test enriched with three landmarks. Then, children were asked to recognize (object recognition) the landmarks encountered along the path and locate them (object location) on an allocentric configuration of the spatial array. Girls outperformed boys in locating landmarks, whereas no difference occurred in landmark recognition. These results provide insights into the gender-related differences in location memory of landmarks, suggesting that females are better than males in the object location component well before the age of 13.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Neuropsychology: Child
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • Landmarks
  • object location memory
  • reference frames
  • sex differences
  • spatial navigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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