Cognitive Processing

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 387–397 | Cite as

Spatial Visualization ability improves with and without studying Technical Drawing

  • María José ContrerasEmail author
  • Rebeca Escrig
  • Gerardo Prieto
  • M. Rosa Elosúa
Research Report


The results of several studies suggest that spatial ability can be improved through direct training with tasks similar to those integrated in the tests used to measure the ability. However, there is a greater interest in analyzing the effectiveness of indirect training such as games or of learning subjects that involve spatial processes to a certain extent. Thus, the objective of the present study was to analyze whether the indirect training in Technical Drawing improved the Spatial Visualization ability of Architecture students. For this purpose, a group of students enrolled in Fundamentals of Architecture were administered two tests, a Spatial Visualization task and an Abstract Reasoning task, at the beginning and the end of a semester, after having received training through the subjects “Technical Drawing I: Geometry and Perception” and “Projects I.” The results of this group were compared with those of a control group of students enrolled in a Mathematics degree, who were also pre-post evaluated but had not received the training in Technical Drawing. The study showed a significant pre-post improvement in both, Visualization and reasoning. However, this improvement occurred in both groups, thereby concluding that this improvement was not due to indirect training. Furthermore, no significant differences were found between men and women in any of the groups or conditions. These results clarify those of an earlier study where improvement in Visualization after training in Technical Drawing was found but did not include a comparison with a control condition. The control condition has proved to be important in order to consider the limitations of the effect of Technical Drawing on said improvement.


Spatial Visualization Abstract Reasoning Indirect training Technical Drawing STEM disciplines Sex differences 



This research falls under the research line for which M.J. Contreras and M. R. Elosúa have received financial support for the research Project EDU2013-46437-R from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The ethics committee of the university (UNED) approved the study with written informed consent from all participants. Written consent was obtained from them, in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.


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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • María José Contreras
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rebeca Escrig
    • 1
  • Gerardo Prieto
    • 2
  • M. Rosa Elosúa
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento Psicología Básica I, Facultad de PsicologíaUniversidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)MadridSpain
  2. 2.Universidad de SalamancaSalamancaSpain

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