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ERIC Number: EJ821857
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1041-6080
How Spatial Abilities Enhance, and Are Enhanced by, Dental Education
Hegarty, Mary; Keehner, Madeleine; Khooshabeh, Peter; Montello, Daniel R.
Learning and Individual Differences, v19 n1 p61-70 2009
In two studies with a total of 324 participants, dentistry students were assessed on psychometric measures of spatial ability, reasoning ability, and on new measures of the ability to infer the appearance of a cross-section of a three-dimensional (3-D) object. We examined how these abilities and skills predict success in dental education programs, and whether dental education enhances an individual's spatial competence. The cross-section tests were correlated with spatial ability measures, even after controlling for reasoning ability, suggesting that they rely specifically on the ability to store and transform spatial representations. Sex differences in these measures indicated a male advantage, as is often found on measures of spatial ability. Spatial ability was somewhat predictive of performance in restorative dentistry practical laboratory classes, but not of learning anatomy in general. Comparisons of the performance of students early and late in their dental education indicated that dentistry students develop spatial mental models of the 3-D structure of teeth, which improves their ability to mentally maintain and manipulate representations of these specific structures, but there is no evidence that dental education improves spatial transformation abilities more generally. (Contains 3 figures and 5 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A