Hand size perceptual distortions characterize adult human cognition. Notwithstanding the importance of uncovering how hand size representation develops in humans, studies in this field are still at a preliminary stage. Indeed, it is yet to be understood whether hand size distortions are present and reliable in early childhood and whether they differ from adults’ distortions, offering a more in-depth insight into the emergence and development of such representations. We addressed this issue by comparing 4- to 6- year-old children and adults’ representation of their own hand size, as assessed with a 2-forced choice visual perceptual task. To test participants’ ability to estimate their own hand size, children and adults judged whether pictures of their own hand, resized to appear smaller or bigger than their own hand, matched or not its actual dimension. Results show that children aged 4 to 6 years tend to underestimate their own hand size, while adults underestimate their own hand more weakly. This evidence suggests that body-parts perceptual distortions are already in place in early childhood, and thus represent a characteristic of the human body representation.
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