Judging the Size of a Distant Object: Strategy Use by Children and Adults

Carl E. Granrud

in Visual Experience

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199597277
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741883 | DOI:
Judging the Size of a Distant Object: Strategy Use by Children and Adults

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The ability to estimate the size of a distant object improves during childhood. This chapter asks whether this change results from increasing sensitivity to visual cues for distance and size or from increasing use of deliberate size-estimation strategies. Children were placed in two groups: those who reported that they deliberately inflated their size estimates to compensate for the effects of distance on perceived size (strategy users); and those who did not (strategy nonusers). Strategy use increased with age between 5 and 11 years; but strategy users made more accurate far-distance size estimates than strategy nonusers regardless of age. Strategy users’ and nonusers’ size estimates did not differ at the near distance in any of our experiments, indicating that the groups did not differ in perceptual abilities, motivation, or task proficiency. This suggests that developmental changes in far-distance size-estimation accuracy result from the development of reasoning abilities and deliberate strategy use.

Keywords: size estimation; visual cues; size-estimation strategies; developmental changes; motivation; reasoning abilities

Chapter.  8936 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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