Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early spatial reasoning predicts later creativity and innovation, especially in STEM fields

Date:
July 15, 2013
Source:
Vanderbilt University
Summary:
Exceptional spatial ability at age 13 predicts creative and scholarly achievements over 30 years later, according to new results.

Exceptional spatial ability at age 13 predicts creative and scholarly achievements more than 30 years later, according to results from a Vanderbilt University longitudinal study, published today in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The study, conducted by David Lubinski and colleagues at Vanderbilt University Peabody College of education and human development, provides evidence that early spatial ability -- the skill required to mentally manipulate 2D and 3D objects -- predicts the development of new knowledge, and especially innovation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) domains, above and beyond more traditional measures of mathematical and verbal ability.

"We live in the age of human capital," said Lubinski, professor of psychology. "Creativity is the currency of the modern era, especially in STEM disciplines. Having a better understanding of the human attributes that facilitate innovation has clear practical implications for education, training, business and talent development."

And yet, he says, despite longstanding speculation that spatial ability may play an important role in supporting creative thinking and innovation, there are very few systems in place to track skill in spatial reasoning.

"Current procedures for identifying intellectually precocious youth currently miss about half of the top 1 percent in spatial ability," Lubinski said.

Using data from a study that began in the late 1970s, Lubinski and colleagues followed up with 563 students who had scored exceptionally well -- in the top 0.5 percent -- on the SATs at age 13. The researchers also examined data on the participants' spatial ability at age 13, as measured by the Differential Aptitude Test.

Confirming previous research, the data revealed that participants' mathematical and verbal reasoning scores on the SAT at age 13 predicted their scholarly publications and patents 30 years later.

But spatial ability at 13 yielded additional predictive power, suggesting that early spatial ability contributes in a unique way to later creative and scholarly outcomes, especially in STEM domains.

These results confirm longstanding speculation in the psychological sciences that spatial ability offers something important to the understanding of creativity that traditional measures of cognitive abilities used in educational and occupational selection don't capture, the researchers concluded.

Lubinski believes cultivating these skills is imperative for ensuring scientific innovation.

"These students have exceptional and under-challenged potential, especially for engineering and technology," Lubinski explains. "We could do a much better job of identifying these students and affording them better opportunities for developing their talents."

Co-authors on this research include Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt's Peabody College, James Steiger, professor of psychology and human development and Harrison Kell, postdoctoral fellow at Peabody College.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vanderbilt University. The original article was written by Jennifer Wetzel. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. H. J. Kell, D. Lubinski, C. P. Benbow, J. H. Steiger. Creativity and Technical Innovation: Spatial Ability's Unique Role. Psychological Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0956797613478615

Cite This Page:

Vanderbilt University. "Early spatial reasoning predicts later creativity and innovation, especially in STEM fields." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130715070347.htm>.
Vanderbilt University. (2013, July 15). Early spatial reasoning predicts later creativity and innovation, especially in STEM fields. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130715070347.htm
Vanderbilt University. "Early spatial reasoning predicts later creativity and innovation, especially in STEM fields." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130715070347.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins