Individual differences in spatial abilities : evidence for different strategies in an indoor navigation task
AuthorMelsom, Anne-Karine Markeng
Spatial abilities determine our approach to a variety of everyday tasks. Previous research has mainly compared the spatial performance of different groups of participants, regardless of the underlying processes. The aim of this study was to explain individual differences by means of the different strategies employed in spatial problem solving. The performance of university students (n=256) was measured in small scale tests using the Vandenberg-Kuse Mental Rotations Test, The Paper Folding Test, and The Card Rotations Test. Twenty-three of the highest and 25 of the lowest performers were selected and further tested with computerized mental rotations- and Stroop interference tests. In addition, their large scale spatial abilities were explored in an indoor navigation task. We predicted that individual performance on the small scale tests may depend on selective decoding allowing successful performers to ignore irrelevant information in the navigation task. The task did encourage the use of a holistic spatial strategy. Nevertheless, the results revealed alternative strategy based on the detail knowledge from the route. This strategy appeared to be independent from the holistic strategy, and unrelated to successful navigation performance.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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