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Journal for Geometry and Graphics 25 (2021), No. 2, 271--293
Copyright Heldermann Verlag 2021



Perspectives on Spatial Thinking

GŁnter Maresch
University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
guenter.maresch@plus.ac.at

Sheryl A. Sorby
Michigan Technological University, and: University of Cincinnati, Houghton, Ohio, U.S.A.
sheryl@mtu.edu



At the end of the 19th century, the ability to think spatially was recognized as one of the crucial facets of human intelligence and intensive research has been carried out in this area by researchers from different branches of science since then. This paper presents the four relevant areas of science that deal with spatial thinking in depth, each approaching it from different perspectives, focusses on training and relations to science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM) professions, and educational perspectives. The different approaches, key messages, and models are discussed in this paper, which, in the context of the historical genesis of spatial thinking research, opens the possibility of being able to see the topic of spatial thinking in a more comprehensive way. Fully understanding the historical context of spatial cognitive research will provide a solid foundation for further developments in this area. Finally, reference is made to the model of "the basic practices of spatial thinking", which was developed with the intention of extracting the essence from the findings of the four scientific areas that deal in depth with spatial thinking and to bring them together in one model.

Keywords: Spatial thinking, spatial ability, spatial cognition, neurology.

MSC: 97C40.

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