The Psychology of practice: Lessons from spatial cognition: The Psychology of practice: Lessons from spatial cognition

David H Uttal, Nathaniel G. Meadow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Having high levels of spatial skills strongly predicts attainment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields (Shea, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2001; Wai, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2009). The focus of this chapter is on two issues: (a) the effect of training and practice on spatial skills and (b) the cognitive mechanisms that support training-related improvement. We discuss a recently conducted meta-analysis that measures the beneficial effects of practice on spatial ability. On average, training led to an improvement of almost one-half standard deviation. Moreover, in some cases the training-related improvements were durable and transferred to other spatial tasks. Research on the effects of training on one well-known spatial task, mental rotation, has led to specific accounts of the influence of practice and training. Finally, we review the effects of video games on spatial skills and their potential impact on spatial cognition. The ability to improve people’s spatial ability provides an avenue to increase participation in mathematics, science, and engineering.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Psychology
EditorsDaniel Reisberg
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages874-885
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2013

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