Anticipatory imagery and spatial operations

Richard de Lisi, Roger Locker, James Youniss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Performed 5 experiments with approximately 152 students in Grades 1-5 to identify levels of children's operatory development on a task requiring the transformation of objects in accord with stipulated rotations through space and to determine whether observed operatory levels would predict performance on tasks requiring other types of imagined movements. In Exp I, Ss anticipated the results of rotating an object 180Deg. Three types of imagery performance were found: transposition, in which change of location was acknowledged but changes in the object's features were not; transformation, in which changes of location were coordinated with changes in the object's features; and intermediate, which included elements of the 2 other approaches. These approaches were correlated with age. In Exp II and III, findings were replicated with 90Deg. rotation and with the referent object shielded from sight. In Exp IV, Ss were assessed on a version of the traditional perspective-taking task. Degree of success was lowest for Ss who had manifested spatial transposition on the rotation problem. Finally, in Exp V, Ss from each grade who took extreme approaches were studied. Again, performance on rotation was related to perspective taking and also to imagining water level in a tilted bottle. (1971) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-310
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1976
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


  • operatory development levels, spatial orientations task performance & anticipatory imagery types, 1st-5th graders


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