Interactive exploration of 3D objects and individual differences in visuo-spatial abilities.

Frank Meijer, Egon van den Broek, Willem B. Verwey

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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    When we study complex material, learning from theory is often not enough: We need to experience it in practice. However, sometimes it is impossible to present practice in real, when it is expensive (e.g. aerospace), unethical (e.g. medical training) or indefinite (e.g. engineering and design). Computer games can offer a solution in that they can simulate these situations, so that a virtual experience becomes possible. This, however, raises two questions: 1) What exactly is the importance of interactivity, and 2) Who benefits from it? In the current study, we investigated the added value of interactivity when exploring abstract (3D) objects and whether the individual’s abilities are of importance. In two experiments, 36 participants were divided into a low, middle, and high visuo-spatial ability (VSA) group, which was determined by Vandenberg and Kuse's MRT-A test (1978). In the experiments, the influence of four types of exploration (none, passive 2-D, passive 3-D and interactive 3-D) on building 3-D mental representations was investigated. First, 24 simple and 24 complex objects (consisting of respectively 3 and 5 geons; Biederman, 1987) were explored and, subsequently, tested through a mental rotation test. Results revealed that participants with a low VSA benefit from interactive exploration of objects opposed to passive exploration. This refines James et al.'s findings (2001), who reported a general increased performance with interactive as compared to passive exploration. Our results underline that individual differences are of key importance when investigating the human's visuo-spatial system, but also when developing virtual learning environments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2008
    EventDag van de Perceptie 2008 - Soesterberg, Nederland
    Duration: 20 Jun 200820 Jun 2008


    WorkshopDag van de Perceptie 2008
    Other20 June 2008


    • 3-D
    • #D
    • visuo-spatial ability (VSA)
    • Virtual reality
    • HMI-VRG: Virtual Reality and Graphics
    • HMI-HF: Human Factors
    • Individual differences


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