Breaking new ground in the mind

An initial study of mental brittle transformation and mental rigid rotation in science experts

Ilyse Resnick, Thomas F. Shipley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The current study examines the spatial skills employed in different spatial reasoning tasks, by asking how science experts who are practiced in different types of visualizations perform on different spatial tasks. Specifically, the current study examines the varieties of mental transformations. We hypothesize that there may be two broad classes of mental transformations: rigid body mental transformations and non-rigid mental transformations. We focus on the disciplines of geology and organic chemistry because different types of transformations are central to the two disciplines: While geologists and organic chemists may both confront rotation in the practice of their profession, only geologists confront brittle transformations. A new instrument was developed to measure mental brittle transformation (visualizing breaking). Geologists and organic chemists performed similarly on a measure of mental rotation, while geologists outperformed organic chemists on the mental brittle transformation test. The differential pattern of skill on the two tests for the two groups of experts suggests that mental brittle transformation and mental rotation are different spatial skills. The roles of domain general cognitive resources (attentional control, spatial working memory, and perceptual filling in) and strategy in completing mental brittle transformation are discussed. The current study illustrates how ecological and interdisciplinary approaches complement traditional cognitive science to offer a comprehensive approach to understanding the nature of spatial thinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Processing
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Geology
Organic Chemistry
Cognitive Science
Short-Term Memory
Visualization
Data storage equipment
Thinking
Spatial Memory

Cite this

@article{5c2bc7f6d79c4f5ea07c501e6e1cf57a,
title = "Breaking new ground in the mind: An initial study of mental brittle transformation and mental rigid rotation in science experts",
abstract = "The current study examines the spatial skills employed in different spatial reasoning tasks, by asking how science experts who are practiced in different types of visualizations perform on different spatial tasks. Specifically, the current study examines the varieties of mental transformations. We hypothesize that there may be two broad classes of mental transformations: rigid body mental transformations and non-rigid mental transformations. We focus on the disciplines of geology and organic chemistry because different types of transformations are central to the two disciplines: While geologists and organic chemists may both confront rotation in the practice of their profession, only geologists confront brittle transformations. A new instrument was developed to measure mental brittle transformation (visualizing breaking). Geologists and organic chemists performed similarly on a measure of mental rotation, while geologists outperformed organic chemists on the mental brittle transformation test. The differential pattern of skill on the two tests for the two groups of experts suggests that mental brittle transformation and mental rotation are different spatial skills. The roles of domain general cognitive resources (attentional control, spatial working memory, and perceptual filling in) and strategy in completing mental brittle transformation are discussed. The current study illustrates how ecological and interdisciplinary approaches complement traditional cognitive science to offer a comprehensive approach to understanding the nature of spatial thinking.",
keywords = "Ecological approach, Expertize, Mental brittle transformation, Mental rotation, Non-rigid, Rigid body, STEM",
author = "Ilyse Resnick and Shipley, {Thomas F.}",
year = "2013",
month = "5",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1007/s10339-013-0548-2",
language = "English",
volume = "14",
pages = "143--152",
journal = "Cognitive Processing",
issn = "1612-4782",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "2",

}

Breaking new ground in the mind : An initial study of mental brittle transformation and mental rigid rotation in science experts. / Resnick, Ilyse; Shipley, Thomas F.

In: Cognitive Processing, Vol. 14, No. 2, 01.05.2013, p. 143-152.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Breaking new ground in the mind

T2 - An initial study of mental brittle transformation and mental rigid rotation in science experts

AU - Resnick, Ilyse

AU - Shipley, Thomas F.

PY - 2013/5/1

Y1 - 2013/5/1

N2 - The current study examines the spatial skills employed in different spatial reasoning tasks, by asking how science experts who are practiced in different types of visualizations perform on different spatial tasks. Specifically, the current study examines the varieties of mental transformations. We hypothesize that there may be two broad classes of mental transformations: rigid body mental transformations and non-rigid mental transformations. We focus on the disciplines of geology and organic chemistry because different types of transformations are central to the two disciplines: While geologists and organic chemists may both confront rotation in the practice of their profession, only geologists confront brittle transformations. A new instrument was developed to measure mental brittle transformation (visualizing breaking). Geologists and organic chemists performed similarly on a measure of mental rotation, while geologists outperformed organic chemists on the mental brittle transformation test. The differential pattern of skill on the two tests for the two groups of experts suggests that mental brittle transformation and mental rotation are different spatial skills. The roles of domain general cognitive resources (attentional control, spatial working memory, and perceptual filling in) and strategy in completing mental brittle transformation are discussed. The current study illustrates how ecological and interdisciplinary approaches complement traditional cognitive science to offer a comprehensive approach to understanding the nature of spatial thinking.

AB - The current study examines the spatial skills employed in different spatial reasoning tasks, by asking how science experts who are practiced in different types of visualizations perform on different spatial tasks. Specifically, the current study examines the varieties of mental transformations. We hypothesize that there may be two broad classes of mental transformations: rigid body mental transformations and non-rigid mental transformations. We focus on the disciplines of geology and organic chemistry because different types of transformations are central to the two disciplines: While geologists and organic chemists may both confront rotation in the practice of their profession, only geologists confront brittle transformations. A new instrument was developed to measure mental brittle transformation (visualizing breaking). Geologists and organic chemists performed similarly on a measure of mental rotation, while geologists outperformed organic chemists on the mental brittle transformation test. The differential pattern of skill on the two tests for the two groups of experts suggests that mental brittle transformation and mental rotation are different spatial skills. The roles of domain general cognitive resources (attentional control, spatial working memory, and perceptual filling in) and strategy in completing mental brittle transformation are discussed. The current study illustrates how ecological and interdisciplinary approaches complement traditional cognitive science to offer a comprehensive approach to understanding the nature of spatial thinking.

KW - Ecological approach

KW - Expertize

KW - Mental brittle transformation

KW - Mental rotation

KW - Non-rigid

KW - Rigid body

KW - STEM

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84882567235&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10339-013-0548-2

DO - 10.1007/s10339-013-0548-2

M3 - Article

VL - 14

SP - 143

EP - 152

JO - Cognitive Processing

JF - Cognitive Processing

SN - 1612-4782

IS - 2

ER -