Spatial Development

Spatial cognition is fundamental for success in formal academic domains such as math and science. My research within spatial cognition investigates how this fundamental skill develops and how to promote its development. I focus on factors that influence spatial development such as language and visual attention and use diverse methods, including speech and gesture coding and head-mounted eye-tracking.


Miller-Goldwater, H.E. & Simmering, V.R. (2022). Examining the role of external language support and children’s own language use in spatial development, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 215, 105317. [Link]

Miller, H.E., Andrew, C.M., & Simmering, V.R. (2020). Speech and gesture production provide unique insights into young children’s spatial reasoning, Child Development, 91, 1934–1952.  doi:10.1111/cdev.13396 [Link]

Miller, H.E., Kirkorian, H.L., & Simmering, V.R. (2020). Using eye-tracking to understand relations between visual attention and language in children’s spatial skills. Cognitive Psychology, 117, 101264. doi:10.​1016/​j.​cogpsych.​2019.​101264 [Link]

Miller, H.E., & Simmering, V.R. (2018). Children’s attention to task-relevant information accounts for relations between language and spatial cognition. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 172, 107-129. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2018.02.006[Link]

Miller, H.E., Vlach, H.A., & Simmering, V.R. (2017). Producing spatial words is not enough: Understanding the relation between language and spatial cognition. Child Development, 88, 1966-1982. doi:10.1111/cdev.12664 [Link]

Miller, H.E., Patterson, R., & Simmering, V.R. (2016). Language supports young children’s use of spatial relations to remember locations. Cognition, 150, 170-180. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2016.02.006  [Link]