Spatial Development: How Parent-Child Interactions, Gender, and Ethnicity Play a Role

Open Access
Kagel, Mackenzie Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Lynn Susan Liben, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jeanette Cleveland, Honors Advisor
  • spatial development
The purpose of this study was to gain a greater insight into the extent to which parents encourage spatial development in their children. The data were collected during a short interaction between a mother and her preschool aged child while they played together with blocks. For the purpose of this thesis, 39 mother-child dyads were analyzed, 14 of whom were of Mexican American descent and spoke Spanish during the interaction, and the other 25 of whom were African American. Each dyad interacted in a small laboratory room and received a set of colored blocks containing pictures, numbers, and shapes. Dyads were instructed to play together as they wished. Behaviors coded included: types of spatial language used, which characteristics of the blocks were addressed, amount of time spent talking, and how the dyad physically manipulated the blocks. Additionally, potential differences based on the gender of the child or the ethnicity of the dyad were considered.