Asking students to take another person’s perspective can close girls’ performance gaps with boys on spatial ability.
In a new study in the journal Psychological Science, researchers from the University of Utah and the University of California, Santa Barbara, conducted a series of experiments using two classic spatial-ability tasks. Some students were instructed to imagine taking the perspective of another person within the task—such as a path through buildings or a map of a home and objects near it.
Across experiments using both tasks, the researchers found college-age women performed significantly better when they were asked to take the perspective of another person, rather than an object. Young men of the same age performed equally well on both types of tasks.
A version of this article appeared in the November 02, 2016 edition of Education Week as Math Education