Note:  Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to PD Dr. Chris Lange-Küttner, School of Psychology, Faculty of Life Sciences, London Metropolitan University, Old Castle Street, London E1 7NT; email: [email protected] or Vertr.-Prof. C. Lange-Küttner, University of Konstanz, Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät, Fachbereich Psychologie, Abt. Entwicklungspsychologie, 78457 Konstanz; email: [email protected]
Abstract: Previous research showed that drawing facilitates memory (Bruck, Melnyk, & Ceci, 2000; Butler, Gross, & Hayne, 1995; Gross & Hayne, 1999). The current study investigated whether drawing strategies could predict spatial memory. Children show a developmental change from drawing object-place binding (object-based coding) to object-region binding (space-based coding) when constructing spatial boundaries around matching Wertheimer stimuli (Common Region Test [CRT], Lange-Küttner, 2006). In the present sample, girls showed the predicted age difference—from object-place to object-region binding—in the CRT. However, a U-shaped development for object-region binding was revealed in boys, with already most of the 6-year-old boys showing this type of spatial binding. Object-place binding was mainly used by boys from low socio-economic (SES) background. Boys' spatial memory was more improved when they showed object-region binding than girls' spatial memory. However, girls had closed the gap between object and place memory already at age 8, while this was the case in boys only at age 10. Multiple regression analyses revealed that socio-economic status (SES) was a more powerful predictor for spatial memory than age in boys, but not in girls. There were no gender differences in spatial encoding and memory in the group of 10-year-olds. It is suggested that gender-specific preferences for object-place and object-region binding were absent at age 10 because unit-based and region based spatial coding may merge like the parallel discrete and continuous number systems which become integrated with age (Feigenson, Dehaene, & Spelke, 2004).
Keywords: object and place memory, spatial binding, gender differences, drawing, Spatial Memory Development Index (SMDI)