Interaction Design and the Role of Spatial Ability in Moderating Virtual Molecule Manipulation Performance

TitleInteraction Design and the Role of Spatial Ability in Moderating Virtual Molecule Manipulation Performance
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBarrett, TJ, Hegarty, M
Conference NameIn P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.) Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
PublisherAustin, TX: Cognitive Science Society
Abstract

Virtual models are increasingly employed in STEM education 
to foster learning about spatial phenomena. However, the role 
of design and spatial ability in moderating performance are not 
yet well understood. We examined the effects of display 
fidelity (stereo vs. mono), interface location (colocated vs. 
displaced), and spatial ability on performance during a virtual 
molecule manipulation task. The results indicated a significant 
beneficial effect of providing stereo viewing on response time, 
while interface location had no effect. The effect of providing 
stereo on performance was moderated by spatial ability. 
Notably, providing stereo did not benefit higher spatial ability 
participants, while those with lower spatial ability uniquely
benefited from using the higher fidelity stereo display. 

DOI