Closing in behaviour in pre-school children
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Closing in Behaviour (CIB) in graphic copying tasks is the tendency to copy extremely close to or on top of the original model. It is exhibited in pre-school children, particularly from age 3 to 5 and is also exhibited in dementia patients (Gainotti, 1972). Chieffi, Ricci & Carlomagno (2001) proposed that CIB may be the extreme manifestation of the distractor effect. Thus when a target is presented with a distractor, the hand movements of a child with CIB will deviate towards that distractor. This study aims to test this hypothesis with the use of two experiments. Twenty-Eight children participated in this study. CIB was assessed using a preliminary graphic copying task. Experiment 1 presented a task irrelevant distractor (a distractor that is not needed to complete the task) with a target and experiment 2 presented a task relevant distractor (a distractor that is needed to complete the task) with target. The children’s task was to move a cursor towards a target. The child’s hand movements towards the targets were assessed. We predicted that there would be a distractor effect for all children and that children with CIB would show larger deviations towards the task irrelevant and task relevant distractor, compared to the children without CIB. The results showed a distractor effect for all children but we did not find that children with CIB made larger deviations towards either distractor. The results of Experiment 1 nearly reached significance which suggests that CIB may be the extreme manifestation of the distractor effect. We suggest that the differences in expected results are due to experimental methodology and differences in attention used for each task.
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