Three Mountain Task
THREE MOUNTAIN TASK
The Three Mountain Task was developed by Jean Piaget and Bärbel Inhelder in the 1940s to study children's ability to coordinate spatial perspectives. In the task, a child faced a display of three model mountains while a researcher placed a doll at different viewpoints of the display. The researcher asked the child to reconstruct the display from the doll's perspective, select from a set of pictures showing the doll's view, and identify a viewpoint for the doll specified by a picture of the display. Some children around age four did not distinguish between their own view and that of the doll, a tendency interpreted by Piaget as evidence of egocentrism. Egocentrism was considered an indication of the preoperational period, a stage that preceded logical thinking. Research since the 1970s has shown young children's perspective-taking ability to be affected by a variety of situational variables.
Piaget, Jean, and Bärbel Inhelder. The Child's Conception of Space. New York: Norton, 1967.