Graphic representations are important for symbolic thought and communication. Here we provide a general definition of graphic representations and discuss some similarities and differences to more commonly studied linguistic representations. We then focus on characteristics of one particular type of graphic representation-those that represent the world or "geo" and hence, "GEO-graphics." Through the use of models from cartography, we highlight qualities of representational and geometric correspondences between the referent space and the GEO-graphic representation, and suggest that an understanding of these graphics rests on the child's developing representational and spatial skills more generally. Empirical data on elementary-school children's interpretations of GEO-graphics illustrate the emergence of understanding in this domain. Finally, we suggest that the development of children's understanding of representation may be characterized as progressing from syncretism, to syncretic representation, to naive conventional representation, and finally to meta-representation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology