LINGUIST List 14.1621

Mon Jun 9 2003

Books: Cognitive Science: Newcombe, Huttenlocher

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  1. dgw, Making Space: Newcombe, Huttenlocher

Message 1: Making Space: Newcombe, Huttenlocher

Date: Fri, 06 Jun 2003 16:24:42 +0000
From: dgw <>
Subject: Making Space: Newcombe, Huttenlocher

Title: Making Space
Subtitle: The Development of Spatial Representation and Reasoning
Series Title: Learning, Development, and Conceptual Change
Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: MIT Press		 
Book URL:
Author: Nora S. Newcombe
Author: Janellen Huttenlocher				

Paperback: ISBN: 0262640503, Pages: 276, Price: $20
Comment: Hardcover published 2000

Spatial competence is a central aspect of human adaptation. To
understand human cognitive functioning, we must understand how people
code the locations of things, how they navigate in the world, and how
they represent and mentally manipulate spatial information. Until
recently three approaches have dominated thinking about spatial
development. Followers of Piaget claim that infants are born without
knowledge of space or a conception of permanent objects that occupy
space. They develop such knowledge through experience and manipulation
of their environment. Nativists suggest that the essential aspects of
spatial understanding are innate and that biological maturation of
specific brain areas can account for whatever aspects of spatial
development are not accounted for at birth. The Vygotskan approach
emphasizes the cultural transmission of spatial skills.

Nora Newcombe and Janellen Huttenlocher argue for an interactionist
approach to spatial development that incorporates and integrates
essential insights of the classic three approaches. They show how
biological preparedness interacts with the spatial environment that
infants encounter after birth to create spatial development and mature
spatial competence. Topics covered include spatial coding during
infancy and childhood; the early origins of coding distance in
continuous space, of coding location with respect to distal external
landmarks, and of hierarchical combination of information; the mental
processes that operate on stored spatial information; spatial
information as encoded in models and maps; and spatial information as
encoded in language. In conclusion, the authors discuss their account
of spatial development in relation to various approaches to cognitive
development in other domains, including quantitative development,
theory of mind, and language acquisition.

Lingfield(s): Cognitive Science
Written In: English (Language Code: ENG)

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