Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Spatial Cognition: The Final Frontier

The Spatial Brain is where everything seems to come together - sight, sound, touch, position, movement, imagery, and interaction. But it's more than that - spatial brain processes are also essential for our representations of ideas and reasoning, and we make predictions based on our spatial 'intuition' every waking minute.

Here's some nice spatial reasoning links. When it comes to this 'intelligence', surprising numbers of folks think they are just born 'good' or 'bad' spatial learners, but it's probable that there's a self-selecting that goes on too. Some natural endowment does seem to exist, but expertise is built upon experience, practice, and analysis. Spatial ability can be improved by direct instruction and even computer programs, but it is rarely tapped in conventional academic programs.

Spatial gifts in children generally appear more noticeable in boys than girls, and young spatial experts have often honed their talents in hands-on / spatial hobbies and out-of-school activities. Because spatial expertise is acquired by doing and imagining more than listening or reading, it takes time, and won't easily fit into a classroom period.

The pictures below show the increased in brain activation required for the more complex levels of the spatial reasoning in the Tower of London task.

NSTA:Enhancing Spatial Reasoning
AI Magazine: Qualitative spatial reasoning about sketch maps
Spatial Reasoning 'Tutor' Program
Importance of Spatial Reasoning
Perceptual Representations and Design
How Spatial Representations Affect Reasoning
Transdisciplinary Spatial Cognition - Reasoning, Action, and Interaction
Eide Neurolearning: Visual, Sensory-Motor, & Math Spatial Learning
Tower of London fMRI
Spatial Reasoning Lessons
Spatial Sense and Geometric Reasoning


  1. We homeschool and I would be very interested in the Game of Ra you have a link to. However, the link takes me to a description of the game to be developed but no actual way to order it. Is it available, do you know?


  2. We just put in that link because we thought it was interesting to hear about spatial aspects of games under design. But if it's something practical you want now - maybe you'd like some of these links?

    This is just a free 'unfolding' game Planarity. Also here are more interesting spatial links -
    Topology Lesson Ideas

    Math Forum: Leonard Euler and the Bridges of Konigsberg
    Click Mazes
    Geometry and the Imagination Course Notes
    Fractals, Complex Patterns, and Chaos

    p.s. if any of you out there have sites you like, please post them...and thanks in advance.