Within an interdisciplinary research project on cognitive strategies and training aspects of spatial ability, funded by the Austrian research fund FWF, we are developing a new means of measuring spatial abilities in an ecologically valid way. Most of the conventional assessments measure spatial abilities in 2-dimensional settings; thus, they require 2D-3D-transformation processes that are often criticized. Developing a new spatial abilitiy measurement, we were using augmented reality technology and the software "Construct 3D", which allows for the projection of various virtual objects into real space. Tasks can be viewed through electronic glasses (HMD´s), and therefore be examined from different perspectives. Participants then actively have to construct solutions within virtual reality, using special input devices. Empirical studies demonstrate, that performance on spatial tasks is often influenced by training and practice. Many of commonly found genderspecific differences in spatial abilities can - at least to some extent - be explained by differences in experience with spatial tasks. Disregarding this fact can lead to an underestimation of the real potential of persons having less experience with spatial tasks (see Glueck, Kaufmann, Duenser & Steinbuegl, 2005). Thus, to gain more valid information on an individual´s spatial abilities, we are developing a dynamic test (containing a pretest, training phase and a post test), that measures the current performance level (pretest) as well as a person´s potential for improvement after a training phase. Spatial tasks used in the previous study are simple and complex figures consisting of single cubes. These figures are presented within a 4x4x4 transparent grid (see figure 1). An item pool of 30 test items was generated following construction rules based on theoretical considerations. Those parameters are dimensionality, rotation axis and the position of the rotation axis, complexity of the single objects, position within the grid and number of rotations per item.
I. Strasser, H. Kaufmann, S. Strauß, J. Glück, M. Csisinko: "Cognitive strategies on solving spatial tasks: development of a dynamic spatial test in augmented reality"; Poster: 3rd International Conference of Cognitive Science, Moscow, Russia; 06-2008.
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