Visuo-spatial ability in colonoscopy simulator training

J.M. Luursema, Sonja N. Buzink, Willem B. Verwey, J.J. Jakimowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)


Visuo-spatial ability is associated with a quality of performance in a variety of surgical and medical skills. However, visuo-spatial ability is typically assessed using Visualization tests only, which led to an incomplete understanding of the involvement of visuo-spatial ability in these skills. To remedy this situation, the current study investigated the role of a broad range of visuo-spatial factors in colonoscopy simulator training. Fifteen medical trainees (no clinical experience in colonoscopy) participated in two psycho-metric test sessions to assess four visuo-spatial ability factors. Next, participants trained flexible endoscope manipulation, and navigation to the cecum on the GI Mentor II simulator, for four sessions within 1 week. Visualization, and to a lesser degree Spatial relations were the only visuo-spatial ability factors to correlate with colonoscopy simulator performance. Visualization additionally covaried with learning rate for time on task on both simulator tasks. High Visualization ability indicated faster exercise completion. Similar to other endoscopic procedures, performance in colonoscopy is positively associated with Visualization, a visuo-spatial ability factor characterized by the ability to mentally manipulate complex visuo-spatial stimuli. The complexity of the visuo-spatial mental transformations required to successfully perform colonoscopy is likely responsible for the challenging nature of this technique, and should inform training- and assessment design. Long term training studies, as well as studies investigating the nature of visuo-spatial complexity in this domain are needed to better understand the role of visuo-spatial ability in colonoscopy, and other endoscopic techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-694
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in health sciences education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • IR-73436
  • METIS-279572


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