Modern approaches in the study of spatial abilities: a structure and etiology of individual differences

Aristova, I.L.; Esipenko, E.A.; Sharafieva, K.R.; Maslennikova, E.P.; Chipeeva, N.A.; Feklicheva, I.V.; Soldatova, E.L.; Fenin, A.Y.; Ismatullina, V.I.; Malykh, S. and Kovas, Yulia. 2018. Modern approaches in the study of spatial abilities: a structure and etiology of individual differences. Voprosy Psihologii (Questions in Psychology), [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The paper reviews results of the studies that were aimed to investigate spatial abilities as well as gender and cross-cultural differences in spatial abilities. Biological, social and personal factors contributing to the development of these abilities are analyzed. Fundamental approaches towards understanding of spatial abilities structure are reviewed, the data supporting the hypothesis of a unitary and multicomponent structure are analyzed. In addition, a separation of spatial abilities into small and large scales is presented. The authors analyze the nature of gender differences in spatial abilities, specifically evolutionary and hormonal hypotheses, as well as effects of gender stereotypes and selfesteem. The extent of gender differences in spatial tasks performance may be related to age. However, how strongly gender differences are expressed in each of the aspects of spatial abilities remains unclear. Some researchers suggest that differences in spatial abilities may also be due to socio-economic status and motivation. It was shown that involvement in activities that are strongly related to spatial thinking may contribute to performance in spatial tests. One of the important aspect of analysis in this paper is the etiology of individual differences in spatial abilities. Several studies have shown that these differences are mainly due to the geneenvironment interaction. Extensive twin studies demonstrate the prevailing contribution of hereditary factors in spatial abilities development. One research area of individual differences in spatial abilities is genetic polymorphism studies. This paper also reviews studies of spatial abilities from the cross-cultural prospective. Studies conducted in different cultural environments support the universal nature of individual differences in spatial abilities. However, despite the extensive knowledge of spatial abilities, our analysis underlines the demand for interdisciplinary approach, involving genetically informative studies of various aspects of spatial abilities, as well as cross-cultural and longitudinal studies in stratified samples.

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10 January 2018Accepted
20 January 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

22 Feb 2019 10:05

Last Modified:

22 Feb 2019 10:05

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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