Creativity and technical innovation: spatial ability's unique role.

Kell HJ, Lubinski D, Benbow CP, Steiger JH
Psychol Sci. 2013 24 (9): 1831-6

PMID: 23846718 · DOI:10.1177/0956797613478615

In the late 1970s, 563 intellectually talented 13-year-olds (identified by the SAT as in the top 0.5% of ability) were assessed on spatial ability. More than 30 years later, the present study evaluated whether spatial ability provided incremental validity (beyond the SAT's mathematical and verbal reasoning subtests) for differentially predicting which of these individuals had patents and three classes of refereed publications. A two-step discriminant-function analysis revealed that the SAT subtests jointly accounted for 10.8% of the variance among these outcomes (p < .01); when spatial ability was added, an additional 7.6% was accounted for--a statistically significant increase (p < .01). The findings indicate that spatial ability has a unique role in the development of creativity, beyond the roles played by the abilities traditionally measured in educational selection, counseling, and industrial-organizational psychology. Spatial ability plays a key and unique role in structuring many important psychological phenomena and should be examined more broadly across the applied and basic psychological sciences.

MeSH Terms (14)

Adolescent Aptitude Cognition Cohort Studies Creativity Female Humans Intelligence Inventions Longitudinal Studies Male Middle Aged Patents as Topic Space Perception

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