Spatial Primitives from a Cognitive Perspective: Sensitivity to Changes in Various Geometric Properties

  • Toru Ishikawa
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8116)


This study addressed the issue of spatial concepts by examining the perception of changes in shape, orientation, size, and cyclic order caused by the transformations of deformation, rotation, scaling, and reflection. 49 participants viewed 36 geometric configurations to which different types and degrees of transformations were applied, and answered how much they thought the configurations were different from each other. Participants perceived deformed configurations as more dissimilar as the degree of deformation became larger. Participants’ perception of geometric properties, however, did not conform to the mathematical classification of transformations. They discriminated between deformed, rotated, scaled, and reflected configurations when the degree of deformation was small; but the perceived difference became smaller as the degree of deformation became larger. Furthermore, mental-rotation ability affected the sensitivity to geometric properties, with low-spatial people attending to changes in orientation caused by rotation and reflection. Implications for spatial learning and education are discussed.


Spatial thinking Spatial concepts Geometric transformations Spatial ability Bidimensional regression 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toru Ishikawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies & Center for Spatial Information ScienceUniversity of TokyoBunkyo-kuJapan

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