chapter  11
28 Pages

On the Mental Representation of Oblique Orientation in Adults

We have argued throughout that spatial representations are constructed not in terms of continuous homogenous extent, but rather, in terms of the primary axes of Cartesian space. Values on these axes are expressed by propositional descriptions, such as up, down, front, back. Reliance on Cartesian dimensions makes the problem of oblique representation par­ ticularly interesting in that this Cartesian framework is not obviously rele­ vant for the encoding of obliquely oriented lines. Children, as we have seen in the previous chapter, do not represent oblique orientation in terms of these primary Cartesian dimensions, but in terms of the particular struc­ tural characteristics of the display-their corners and their axes-and as result they make frequent errors in their judgements of similarity. The prob­ lem remains, however, to determine the way in which adults represent obli­ que orientation, in particular, to identify what role, if any, adults assign to the Cartesian dimensions which we have found to be so crucial to other spatial propositions.