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Recently, there has been a debate on whether visual patterns can be transformed and reinterpreted in mental imagery. In the present study, task demands and age of subjects were manipulated to see whether children and adults were able to discover a novel visual pattern after transforming a mental image. Two tasks, called combination and subtraction, were devised. They consist of either compounding or taking away parts of images to discover a new construal. Results indicate that not only adults, but also children aged 6 and 10, are able to transform a mental image so as to yield another image with a different interpretation. Task demands had a greater effect on children than adults, consistent with the suggestion that the ease of manipulating mental images is a function of the efficiency of control processes.


Journal article


J Exp Child Psychol

Publication Date





300 - 312


Adult, Child, Child Development, Discrimination Learning, Female, Humans, Imagination, Male, Mental Recall, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Problem Solving