Ecological Validation of Individual Differences in Object vs. Spatial Ability

We investigated the relationship between visual-object ability, visual-spatial ability, and different fields of study/areas of specialization in college students, professionals, and gifted children, specializing in visual art, science and humanities.

Our results (Kozhevnikov, Blazhenkova, & Becker, 2010) showed that in all age groups, visual-object ability discriminatively relates to specialization in visual art, in the same way as visual-spatial ability relates to specialization in physics, mathematics, and other natural sciences. Across different age groups with different professional specializations, participants with above-average object visualization abilities (artists) had below-average spatial visualization abilities, and the inverse was true for those with above-average spatial visualization abilities (scientists). Our results show that object and spatial visualization discriminately relate to different specializations
, thus supporting the ecological validity of the distinction between object and spatial imagery abilities.