Two classes of spatial relations can be distinguished in between and within object representations. Kosslyn (1987) suggested that the right hemisphere (RH) is specialized for processing coordinate (metric) spatial information and the left hemisphere (LH) processes categorical (abstract) information more effectively. The present study examined the developmental pattern of spatial relation processing in 6-8 year olds, 10-12 year olds and adults. Using signal detection analyses we calculated sensitivity and bias scores for all age groups. The results indicated that older children and adults showed a greater response bias than younger children. Also, discrimination sensitivity for spatial relation changes clearly improved with age. For the oldest children (10-12 year olds) and adults this improvement was accompanied by a RH specialization. In contrast with Kosslyn’s claim, this RH advantage also applied to the processing of categorical spatial information. The results are discussed in terms of a right hemispheric specialization for spatial relation processing which matures with age
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