Do All Science Disciplines Rely on Spatial Abilities? Preliminary Evidence from Self-report Questionnaires
Spatial abilities are correlated with success in science. However, research on this topic has not focused on possible differences in the spatial demands of different scientific fields. Furthermore, there is a partial dissociation between spatial abilities involved in dealing with the space of environments (large-scale spatial abilities) and those involved in dealing with the space of objects (small-scale spatial abilities). We used on-line self-report measures to collect preliminary data on the spatial abilities of scientists in different fields, as well as humanists and individuals in professional fields. Geoscientists had the highest self-report ratings of both environmental and small-scale spatial abilities, whereas geographers had relatively high self ratings of environmental spatial abilities and engineers had relatively high self ratings of small-scale spatial abilities. Other scientific disciplines did not differ from the mean in self reported spatial abilities. Self ratings of verbal ability were uncorrelated with self ratings of spatial abilities and, as expected, were highest for humanities specialists.
Keywordsspatial ability visualization scale science disciplines STEM fields
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