Can practice improve spatial reasoning?

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Offline thedoc

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Can practice improve spatial reasoning?
« on: 01/05/2013 21:30:01 »
jaimal ambaram  asked the Naked Scientists:
My name is Jaimal and I am from South africa. I've just noticed something weird.

I just decided, for the fun of it, to take an IQ test and I noticed that my spatial reasoning has improved. What use to look like just lines, circles and odd shapes (from the last test I took) now look like alphabets manipulated in some way, which I can now complete the series.

The only thing differently that I can think of that I have done from the last time I took a test is that, I've had to practise really hard for my engineering drawing exam that is coming up.

So, my questions are; has my ability in spatial reasoning improved because I've practised at it or is it because i've seen problems of the sort and my brain has somehow had time to figure them out? If it is possible that I've improved my spatial ability through practice, then does that mean intelligence can be improved and that it is not crystallized as people believe it to be?

Looking forward to your reply :) :) :)

Kind regards

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 01/05/2013 21:30:01 by _system »


Offline chris

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Re: Can practice improve spatial reasoning?
« Reply #1 on: 03/05/2013 09:24:01 »
I would say yes, definitely.

The brain is an incredibly plastic organ, which re-programmes itself constantly to respond to the demands of daily life. This reprogramming takes the form of the strengthening or weakening of connections between the nerve cells that make up the neural network that process what we do, how we think, and how we solve problems. And just as a muscle grows the more you use it, a mental workout also boosts brain power.

One very good example of this is the work done by Eleanor Maguire on London taxi drivers passing "the knowledge", which involves learning every street in London. Those that passed had very differently-shaped navigation areas in their brains compared with when they started:

It sounds to me like the work you have been doing shares a considerable overlap with the visuo-spatial tests that you used to struggle with. Through your work you have strengthened the connectivity in the region of the brain that decodes these stimuli, making your brain better at unpicking them.
I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception - Groucho Marx