The role of geometric and non -geometric information in preschoolers' selective attention

Meira Torenberg, Fordham University


This study was designed to examine preschoolers' reliance on geometric and non-geometric information for selective attention. Ninety early preschoolers and 90 late preschoolers were asked to remember the location of 1 of 2 sets of toys placed within a square box. One set was designated as relevant or important to remember and the other as irrelevant. Relevant items were placed in each of the apparatus' corners, parallel to the middle of the apparatus' walls, or in 2 corners and parallel to the middle of 2 walls. Children were administered the task in 1 of 3 spatial configurations: with 1 blue wall, representing non-geometric information; with a round bump on 1 wall, representing geometric information; and with 4 white walls. Children were asked to remember the locations of relevant items for later replacement in the apparatus. The data collected were analyzed using analyses of variance and planned comparisons, to examine developmental and treatment group differences in the number of children demonstrating selective strategies for both removal and relocation of items within the apparatus; in the number of correctly relocated relevant and irrelevant items; and in children's recall of spatial information (e.g., bumped wall). Analyses of variance also were used to determine the extent to which type of selective strategy used influenced the number of relevant items and irrelevant items correctly relocated, both across and within age groups. The majority of the children demonstrated a selective strategy, characterized by the consecutive removal of 4 relevant items either before or after removal of the 4 irrelevant items. Older children correctly relocated more items than their younger counterparts and recall of relevant items, representing selective attention, was greater among all children when these items were located in the corners of the apparatus than parallel to the walls. Recall of relevant items was greater in the blue wall configuration than in the all-white configuration. Overall, these findings highlight the efficiency of spatial information in facilitating selective attention and suggest that the ability to use non-geometric, geometric, and both sources of information for selective attention is present during the preschool period.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Cognitive therapy

Recommended Citation

Torenberg, Meira, "The role of geometric and non -geometric information in preschoolers' selective attention" (2005). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3166585.