Assessing Rigid and Non-Rigid Spatial Thinking

DS 116: Proceedings of the DESIGN2022 17th International Design Conference

Year: 2022
Editor: Mario Štorga, Stanko Škec, Tomislav Martinec, Dorian Marjanović
Author: Khushbu Maheshwary (1), Boris Eisenbart (2), Stefan Zorn (3), Thomas Nelius (4), Kilian Gericke (3), Sven Matthiesen (4), Lucienne Blessing (1)
Series: DESIGN
Institution: 1: Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore; 2: Swinburne University of Technology, Australia; 3: University of Rostock, Germany; 4: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Section: Design Education
Page(s): 2333-2342
DOI number:
ISSN: 2732-527X (Online)


Spatial Thinking (ST) is an important part of reasoning. In contrast to Rigid ST (R-ST), Non-Rigid ST (NR-ST) has hardly been researched and tests do not exist, even though NR-ST is crucial for professions that deal with space and time such as engineering and design. Our study at 4 different universities confirms that R-ST does not predict performance in NR-ST; that performance in Non-Rigid ST is significantly lower than in R-ST; and that performance of students in later semesters is not better than in the first semesters. These results highlight the need for further research into NR-ST.

Keywords: spatial thinking, design education, design competences, cognitive capabilities

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