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The role of dynamic spatial ability in geoscience text comprehension

, School of Psychological Science, United States ; , University of Illinois at Chicago, United States

Learning and Instruction Volume 31, Number 1, ISSN 0959-4752 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


The current experiment investigated the effects of a dynamic spatial ability on comprehension of a geoscience text on plate tectonics and the causes of volcanic activity. 162 undergraduates (54% female) from a large public university who had little prior knowledge of this science content area were asked to learn about plate tectonics. Measures of spatial ability and working memory capacity were used to predict comprehension from a text that contained either no images, static images, or animated versions of the static images. Only the dynamic spatial ability measure interacted with the type of illustrations contained in the text, and was shown to be especially relevant for comprehension when readers did not receive animations. These results demonstrate a novel influence of individual differences in dynamic spatial ability on comprehension of text describing dynamic spatial phenomena.


Sanchez, C.A. & Wiley, J. (2014). The role of dynamic spatial ability in geoscience text comprehension. Learning and Instruction, 31(1), 33-45. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved September 22, 2019 from .

This record was imported from Learning and Instruction on January 29, 2019. Learning and Instruction is a publication of Elsevier.

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