The Impact of Medically-Related Experiences on Spatial Ability: Instrument Creation

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Medicine and Health Sciences


In medical school, students frequently depend on spatial ability to be successful in medical school courses. For example, it is vital for medical students to be able to visualize vasculature relative to organs to be successful during anatomy. Spatial ability can be broken down into several distinct pieces including the ability to differentiate left from right, the ability to give/follow directions, and the ability to mentally manipulate objects. The aim of this study was the development of an electronic survey and a battery of spatial tests to be pilot tested on a voluntary sample of medical students at MUCOM. This descriptive study focuses on the modifications and adaptations made to both survey questions and original paper-and-pencil versions of the spatial ability tests in order to administer them in an electronic format. The survey, developed specifically for this project, is designed to collect information on past education, occupations, medical experience, and extracurricular activities. And the spatial tests assess different, sometimes overlapping, areas of spatial ability. These paper-and-pencil tests typically have low quality images and are very difficult to administer to a large population. Converting them into electronic format will provide an opportunity to enhance the image quality and reach a large sample of participants. The survey and battery of spatial tests will be administered to participant through Qualtrics survey software. The images in the spatial ability tests were modified using PDF mate PDF converter, Adobe Photoshop CS2 version 9.0, and Microsoft paint. A variety of techniques were necessary depending upon the extent of editing needed. The final instrument produced is of high quality and is currently in the pilot testing, phase. Pilot testing is scheduled to end on October 7, 2015.


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Chatterjee, A.K., is a corresponding author of this work.

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