Monday, October 08, 2007

Video Game Training Narrows Spatial Gender Gap

A short course of video game training (10 hrs) narrowed the spatial gender gap in spatial attention and mental rotation.

Because mental rotation and visual spatial awareness are skills required for disciplines within engineering, architecture, or science, and discrepancies exist between male and female groups on the whole (men generally outperform women on spatial tasks), studies like this are helpful for the potential help they may provide for women (and spatially-weak men) who find their spatial skills are limiting their achievement in certain fields.



Not surprisingly, action video games were more effective than non-action, probably because of their increased dynamic demands and visual-motor planning. Interestingly, science majors were much stronger than art majors in spatial attention. I bet art majors might differ depending on their media or style preferences (whole vs. part, 2D vs. 3D); also it would be interesting to think about different skill sets within particular scientific domains (e.g. biology vs. chemistry or physics).

Video Game Training Reduces Gender Gap in Spatial Cognition
Gender Differences in Spatial Task Performance
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Spatial Cognition
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Direct Contact Learning - Spatial Reasoning & Engineers

1 comment:

  1. Vicki Pursell7:13 AM

    I am one of the unusual spatially-adept females; I have a BA and MA in Geology. My ex-husband is an engineer and is spatially-challenged. However, he is a metallurgical engineer which is essentially the chemistry of metals and does not require the ability to visualize in 3-d.
    I also found when I taught structural geology, there was a clear delineation between students who could "see" or understand the 3-d models and those who couldn't. I didn't pay attention to gender differences however.

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