The Normal Development of Spatial Analytic Processing

In the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab our behavioral work with normally developing children has challenged the commonly held view that young children are "holistic" processors of spatial information. We have shown that children as young as age 2 approach the problem of pattern processing analytically. That is, they encode parts of a spatial pattern and integrate them systematically into organized wholes. This is an important, basic finding which redefines the question and the appropriate level of inquiry for assessing developmental change in young children's processing of spatial patterns. The questions become not whether or when children analyze spatial patterns, but rather what is the character of that analysis and how does it change with development?

Our second major line of research focuses on a population of children with congenital focal brain injury. It is a theoretically interesting population because it offers the potential for addressing a number of quite different issues ranging from the question of early brain plasticity to possible dissociations in cognitive functioning. Although there has been long-standing theoretical interest in this population of children, very little empirical data has been collected.