Spatial Cognition and Computation

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 117–134 | Cite as

Age differences in adults' spatial abilities, learning environmental layout, and wayfinding behavior

  • Kathleen C. Kirasic


Empirical relations among age, general spatialability as assessed by psychometric tests,wayfinding-related skills as assessed byexperimental tasks in the laboratory,environmental layout learning as assessed in afield experiment, and wayfinding behavior asobserved in a field experiment were modeled ina study involving 120 younger and 120 olderadults. The best-fitting model showed thatage-related differences in learningenvironmental layout were significantly, butnot exclusively, mediated by a single abilityfactor defined by psychometric tests. Knowledge of environmental layout was theexclusive mediator between general spatialability and wayfinding behavior. Thus, agedifferences in psychometric test performancewere found to be a major factor in accountingfor aging-related decline in learningenvironmental layout, but other variables notassessed in this study also play a significantrole.

aging spatial abilities wayfinding learning 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen C. Kirasic
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South CarolinaUSA

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