Spatial orientation and navigation are fundamental abilities in daily life that develop gradually during childhood, although their development is still not clear. The main aim of the present narrative review was to trace the development of navigational skills in middle childhood (6 to 12 years old) by means of studies present in the literature. To this aim, this review took into account the terminology, methodologies, different paradigms, and apparatuses used to investigate egocentric self-centered and allocentric world-centered representations, besides the different types of spaces (reaching/small/large; physical/virtual). Furthermore, this review provided a brief description of the development of navigational strategies and competences in toddlers and preschool children (0-5 years). The main result of this review showed how middle childhood is a crucial period for the improvement and development of allocentric strategies, including metric information. In fact, during this developmental window, children learn to handle proximal and distal cues, to transpose paper and virtual information into real environments, up to performing similarly to adults. This narrative review could represent a starting point to better clarify the development of navigation and spatial orientation, finalized to trace a development curve useful to map normal development and to have a term of comparison to assess performance in atypical development.

The Development of Human Navigation in Middle Childhood: A Narrative Review through Methods, Terminology, and Fundamental Stages

Foti, Francesca
2022-01-01

Abstract

Spatial orientation and navigation are fundamental abilities in daily life that develop gradually during childhood, although their development is still not clear. The main aim of the present narrative review was to trace the development of navigational skills in middle childhood (6 to 12 years old) by means of studies present in the literature. To this aim, this review took into account the terminology, methodologies, different paradigms, and apparatuses used to investigate egocentric self-centered and allocentric world-centered representations, besides the different types of spaces (reaching/small/large; physical/virtual). Furthermore, this review provided a brief description of the development of navigational strategies and competences in toddlers and preschool children (0-5 years). The main result of this review showed how middle childhood is a crucial period for the improvement and development of allocentric strategies, including metric information. In fact, during this developmental window, children learn to handle proximal and distal cues, to transpose paper and virtual information into real environments, up to performing similarly to adults. This narrative review could represent a starting point to better clarify the development of navigation and spatial orientation, finalized to trace a development curve useful to map normal development and to have a term of comparison to assess performance in atypical development.
2022
allocentric
egocentric
landmarks
metric information
navigation
physical environment
spatial abilities
spatial cognition
virtual environment
wayfinding
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/588490
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