Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lego Sets and Creativity In Children

Here is an interesting article that covering a research paper which states that "spatial skills" - the ability to visualize, manipulate and build stuff in 2 or 3 dimensions is a greater predictor of creativity in technology related fields that math or verbal skills.

Creative Children

Study Finds Spatial Skill Is Early Sign of Creativity

- Legos and chemistry sets are considered good gifts for the spatial relations set.

- Cognitive psychologists have long suspected that spatial ability is key to success in technical fields.

- Aome experts believe that the new research is significant since it shows that high levels of performance in STEM fields is not related to Math abilities alone.

So, I guess it pays well to encourage kids to build stuff in 2 dimensions (on iPad?) and 3 dimensions as well, if they show that interest and passion. By the way, the study says that there is a correlation between spatial ability and achievements in STEM fields. It does not say that the former causes the later.

Here is the academic paper in PDF form: Spatial Ability for STEM Domains: Aligning Over 50 Years of Cumulative Psychological Knowledge Solidifies Its Importance.

Abstract of the paper:

The importance of spatial ability in educational pursuits and the world of work was examined, with particular attention devoted to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) domains. Participants were drawn from a stratified random sample of U.S. high schools (Grades 9–12, N = 400,000) and were tracked for 11+ years; their longitudinal findings were aligned with pre-1957 findings and with contemporary data from the Graduate Record Examination and the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth.

For decades, spatial ability assessed during adolescence has surfaced as a salient psychological attribute among those adolescents who subsequently go on to achieve advanced educational credentials and occupations in STEM.

Results solidify the generalization that spatial ability plays a critical role in developing expertise in STEM and suggest, among other things, that including spatial ability in modern talent searches would identify many adolescents with potential for STEM who are currently being missed.


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