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    ABSTRACT: Three experiments examined how cognitive abilities and qualities of external visualizations affected performance of a mental visualization task; inferring the cross-section of a complex three-dimensional object. Experiment 1 investigated the effect of animations designed to provide different task-relevant views of the external object. Experiment 2 examined the effects of both stereoscopic and motion-based depth cues. Experiment 3 examined the effects of interactive animations, with and without stereoscopic viewing conditions. In all experiments, spatial and general reasoning abilities were measured. Effects of animation, stereopsis, and interactivity were relatively small and did not reach statistical significance. In contrast, spatial ability was significantly associated with superior performance in all experiments, and this remained true after controlling for general intelligence. The results indicate that difficulties in this task stem more from the cognitive ability to perform the relevant internal spatial transformations, than limited visual information about the three-dimensional structure of the object.
    Human-Computer Interaction 04/2010; 25(2):119-147. · 2.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spatial thinking is central to many scientific domains and professions spatial ability predicts success and participation in science. However spatial thinking is not is not emphasized in our educational system. This paper presents a selective review of four types of studies regarding spatial thinking in undergraduate science curricula; (1) correlational studies examining the relations between measures of spatial ability and performance in science disciplines, (2) studies that attempt to train aspects of spatial thinking, (3) studies of how students understand specific spatial representations in sciences (4) studies that use dynamic spatial representations to promote scientific understanding. For each type of study, the evidence is critically evaluated and conclusions are drawn about how to nurture spatial thinking in science.
    Spatial Cognition and Computation 04/2014; 14(2). · 1.22 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Maps 03/2014; 10(2):249-256. · 0.90 Impact Factor

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