Spatial Ability: A Neglected Dimension In Talent Searches For Intellectually Precocious Youth

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rose Mary Webb Ph.D., Associate Professor and Experimental Psychology Concentration Director (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Students identified by talent search programs were studied to determine whether spatial ability could uncover math-science promise. In Phase 1, interests and values of intellectually talented adolescents (617 boys, 443 girls) were compared with those of top math-science graduate students (368 men, 346 women) as a function of their standing on spatial visualization to assess their potential fit with math-science careers. In Phase 2, 5-year longitudinal analyses revealed that spatial ability coalesces with a constellation of personal preferences indicative of fit for pursuing scientific careers and adds incremental validity beyond preferences in predicting math-science criteria. In Phase 3, data from participants with Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores were analyzed longitudinally, and a salient math-science constellation again emerged (with which spatial ability and SAT-Math were consistently positively correlated and SAT-Verbal was negatively correlated). Results across the 3 phases triangulate to suggest that adding spatial ability to talent search identification procedures (currently restricted to mathematical and verbal ability) could uncover a neglected pool of math-science talent and holds promise for refining our understanding of intellectually talented youth.

Additional Information

Webb, R.M., Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C.P. (2007) Spatial ability: A neglected dimension in talent searches for intellectually precocious youth. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(2): 397-420 (May 2007). Published by American Psychological Association (ISSN: 1939-2176). This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record. DOI: 10.1037/0022-0663.99.2.397
Language: English
Date: 2007

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