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Mental Rotation Skills

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Presentation for day conference BSRLM, Brighton, 11/11/16

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Mental Rotation Skills

  1. 1. Training mental rotation skills to improve spatial ability Christian Bokhove and Ed Redhead BSRLM day conference, 12 November 2016, Brighton, UK
  2. 2. This study • Arose from collaboration Education School and Psychology department. • Dr. Bokhove had been using well-known ‘Building blocks’ applet from Utrecht University. • Dr. Redhead had worked with mazes and wayfinding. • Common factor: spatial skills. Could they be trained? • This presentation reports on the initial benchmarking in this ‘Mental Rotation Skills’ (MRS) project.
  3. 3. Aims 1. Online digital version of MRS measurement instrument. 2. Flexibility in environment to cater for different conditions (demonstration later on) as MRS training tool. 3. To eventually see if MRS training (i) improves MRS, but (ii) also transfers to other spatial and maths domains, e.g. wayfinding in mazes.
  4. 4. Spatial skills: MRS can be trained • Meta-analysis of training studies for spatial skills: training in mental rotation can lead to stable gains in MRS (Uttal et al., 2013) • Training benefited undergraduate students who initially exhibited poor spatial skills (Sorby, 2009) So, MRS can be trained
  5. 5. Spatial skills: MRS predicts maths • Good spatial skills strongly predicts achievement and attainment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields (Uttal et al., 2013) • Thompson, Nuerk, Moeller and Kadosh (2013) strengthened the observed link between spatial and numerical abilities. And training: • Spatial tasks are related to arithmetical and mathematical performance (Dumontheil & Klingberg, 2011). • Cheng and Mix (2014) found evidence that mental rotation training improved maths performance in 6- to 8-year olds.
  6. 6. Spatial skills: MRS and wayfinding • MRS good predictors of other large scale spatial abilities such as orientation, route learning and wayfinding skills (Nori, Grandicelli & Guisberti, 2006). • Particularly the case in children (Fenner, Heathcote, & Jerams-Smith, 2000; Merrill, Yang, Roskos & Steele, 2016). So, we want to work more on training MRS and transfer to maths and wayfinding.
  7. 7. Platform • Digital Mathematics Environment. Started as project in Netherlands at Utrecht University. • Extended into MC-squared platform (www.mc2-project.eu) and Numworx. • Allows integration of ‘widgets’ in digital maths books, within a Learner Management System (scope too wide to elaborate, please ask if interested).
  8. 8. Methodology • Lab-based: psychology students. 43 undergraduate Psychology students from a university in England. • We measure wayfinding before and after. • 2x2 factorial design. The two conditions are: • Treatment group. This group will use a combined assessment and training tool based on a standardized MRS instrument. • Control group. Students in the control condition will complete crossword puzzles similar to those used as filler tasks in previous research on MRS (e.g. Cherney, 2008). • JASP 0.8 beta.
  9. 9. Describe building blocks (Boon, 2009) http://www.educationaldesigner.org/ed/volume1/issue2/article7/
  10. 10. • Ganis and Kievit (2015), based on Shepard and Metzlar (1971) • Validated mental rotation stimuli • 48 sets of two block buildings with 7 to 11 cubes • Four arms rotated over four angles: 0, 50, 100 and 150o • ‘Same’ and ‘different’ http://openpsychologydata.metajnl.com/article/10.5334/jopd.ai/
  11. 11. Wayfinding • Instruction cues • Local cues • Distal cues
  12. 12. • Stores correct/incorrect • Time taken
  13. 13. Results • Collectively, the 43 students made 43×48=2064 assessment items for MRS, and 2×43=86 mazes • We had three aims: 1. Online digital version of MRS measurement instrument. 2. Flexibility in environment to cater for different conditions (demonstration later on) as MRS training tool. 3. To eventually see if MRS training (i) improves MRS, but (ii) also transfers to other spatial and maths domains, e.g. wayfinding in mazes.
  14. 14. Aim 1: MRS instrument • Similar behaviour as Ganis and Kievit (2015) • Differences ‘same’ and ‘different’.
  15. 15. Aim 2: flexible environment (based on validated instrument)
  16. 16. Note: there are some challenges re unicity
  17. 17. Aim 3: improvements • Not during (using ‘split half’ because of balanced design)
  18. 18. Aim 3: relation maze tasks • Assumptions ANCOVA met (no difference groups and homoscedasticity) • Gain in seconds, treatment group reduction in duration, control increase. • When controlling for pre-test maze score, MRS duration and MRS precision, as well as the interaction between MRS duration and precision there was no statistically significant difference between control and treatment group on the post-test maze score.
  19. 19. Limitations and further research • Undergraduate setting. Extending to naturalistic setting. • Tension length of treatment and (supposed) effectiveness. • No interaction in MRS tool (while it does this so nicely!). Consequences of first wanting baseline.
  20. 20. Thank you • Contact: • C.Bokhove@soton.ac.uk • Twitter: @cbokhove • www.bokhove.net • Try http://is.gd/bsrlm_brighton -> guest ->
  21. 21. References Boon, P. (2009). A designer speaks: Designing educational software for 3D geometry. Educational designer, 1(2), 1-11. Cheng, Y-L., & Mix, K.M. (2014). Spatial training improves children’s mathematics ability. Journal of cognition and development, 15(1), 2-11. Cherney, I.D. (2008). Mom, let me play more computer games: they improve my mental rotation skills. Sex Roles, 59, 776-786. Dumontheil, I., & Klingberg, T. (2011). Brain activity during visuospatial working memory task predicts arithmetical performance 2 years later. Celebral Cortex, 22, 1078-1085. Fenner, J., Heathcote, D., & Jerrams-Smith, J. (2000). The development of wayfinding competency: Asymmetrical effects of visuo- spatial and verbal ability. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 20, 165-175. Ganis, G & Kievit, R.A. (2015). A New Set of Three-Dimensional Shapes for Investigating Mental Rotation Processes: Validation Data and Stimulus Set. Journal of Open Psychology Data 3(1):e3, DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/jopd.ai Merrill, E. C., Yang, Y., Roskos, B., & Steele, S. (2016). Sex differences in using spatial and verbal abilities influence route learning performance in a virtual environment: A comparison of 6- to 12-year old boys and girls. Frontiers in Psychology: Developmental Psychology, 7(Article 258), 1-17. Nori, R., Grandicelli, S., & Giusberti, F. (2006). Visuo-spatial ability and wayfinding performance in real-world. Cognitive Processing, 7, S135-S137. doi:10.1007/s10339-006-0104-4 Shepard, R. N. and Metzler, J. (1971). Mental rotation of three-dimensional objects. Science 171(3972): 701–703, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.171.3972.701 Sorby, S. (2009). Educational Research in Developing 3-D Spatial Skills for Engineering Students. International Journal of Science Education, 31, 459-480. Thompson, J.M., Nuerk, H-C., Moeller, K., & Kadosh, R.C. (2013). The link between mental rotation ability and basic numerical representations, Acta Psychologica, 144(2), 324-332. Uttal, D. H. et al. (2013). The Malleability of Spatial Skills: A Meta-Analysis of Training Studies. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 352-402.

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