Using a longitudinal design, the present study examined developmental changes in the employment of (motor) imagery strategies on the hand laterality judgment (HLJ) task in children. All children (N = 23) participated three times, at ages of 5, 6, and 7 years. Error percentages and response durations were compared to a priori defined sinusoid models, representing different strategies to judge hand laterality. Response durations of correct and incorrect trials were included. Observed data showed that task performance was affected by motor constraints, both in children who performed accurately at 5 years of age and in the children who did not. This is the first study to show that 5-year-olds-even when not successful at the task-employ motor imagery when engaged in this task. Importantly, although the children became faster and more accurate with age, no developmental changes in the employed motor imagery strategy were observed at ages of 5, 6, and 7 years. We found that 5-year-old children are able to use a motor imagery strategy to perform the HL J task. Although performance on this task improved with age, our analyses showed that the employed strategy to solve this task remained invariant across age.
- Hand laterality judgment
- motor imagery