From birth, infants encounter an environment full of objects and learn rapidly about their spatial characteristics. According to Newcombe, Uttal, and Sauter (2013), spatial development includes (1) the development of intraobject representations with the ability to transform them by mental rotation, and (2) the development of interobject representations with the ability to find and predict certain object locations. Infants’ remarkable improvements of these two strands of spatial object processing raise the major question of which factors may drive them. In this article, we discuss the extent to which infants’ development of intra- and interobject representations is related to their emerging motor skills. In particular, we provide a review on how far infants’ development of mental object rotation ability and their ability to localize objects are related to their manual object exploration and locomotion skills. We document a bulk of evidence suggesting such a link between infants’ motor development and their spatial object processing and also discuss and critically reconsider the implications of these studies.
Kubicek and Schwarzer are with the Dept. of Psychology and Sports Science, University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany.