Research and Other Links of Interest

[Go to: Labs with SILC Personnel]

Abacus Demo
Copyright by Neon Brooks, SILC Alumni Member.

Blocks and Beyond: Strengthening Early Math and Science Skills through Spatial Learning
Book on how to cultivate spatial learning in young children.

Central Indiana Science Outreach
From their Mission statement: Central Indiana Science Outreach connects science enthusiasts of all ages by promoting accessible science events and activities from around the Central Indiana region. Our growing network joins scientists, educators, and organizations in a collaborative atmosphere to foster science communication, appreciation, and fun.

CogSketch: Activities for Introductory GeoScience
A collection of CogSketch activities from The Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College.

Commission on Cognitive Visualization
International Cartographic Association (ICA) Commission on Cognitive Issues in Geographic Information Visualization (CogVis). To find out more about the Commission, planned activities, and more, please look at the website:

Complexity, Cognition and the City (2011, Springer: Heidelberg)
The author, Juval Portugali, is a Spatial Network Member. Clicking on the book title takes you to its page on the publisher's site. There you will find a link to read selected pages from the book on-line, as well as info about the ebook and MyCopy options.

♦ Current Directions in Psychological Science - Carlson et al 2010

♦ Epic Win STE+AM Camps & Labs
A collaborative initiative spearheaded by the George Greenstein Instituute to advance spatial studies skills within a blended art and science learning program for high school youth.

♦ ESRI Education Community
The website purpose is to be "a living environment for the exchange of ideas and experiences, curriculum, software, and data between GIS educators around the globe."

From the GIS Education Community blog on the esri website:

A couple of short essays written by Spatial Network Member, Joseph Kerski, are available:

♦ Five forces catapulting geography onto the world stage by Joseph Kerski

♦ The Gardony Map Drawing Analyzer (GMDA)
The Tufts Spatial Cognition Lab has developed freely-available software for analyzing sketch maps. The Gardony Map Drawing Analyzer (GMDA) scores sketch maps using novel measures that employ pairwise comparison as well as bidimensional regression (Friedman & Kohler, 2003) in an easy-to-use graphical interface. This software is free to use. The software download and a description of the software are found at website above.

♦ GeoMagNet+: Spatial ability training and Geometry learning tools
From the website: This site is dedicated to the introduction of new learning tools for K-8 geometry education and spatial ability training which includes net development and cross section identification tasks.

♦ International Association for Geoscience Diversity (IAGD)
The International Association for Geoscience Diversity (IAGD) is composed of higher education faculty, staff and students, geoscience industry representatives, disabilities education researchers and members of the global community. This organization is charged with identifying current research opportunities and instructional best practices for underrepresented students with disabilities, while seeking to raise awareness of improving access and exposure to the geoscience disciplines for students and geoscientists with disabilities.

♦ International Visual Literacy Association
IVLA holds an annual conference. From their website: "IVLA is a not-for-profit association of researchers, educators, designers, media specialists, and artists dedicated to the principles of visual literacy."

♦ Learning to Think Spatially:GIS as a Support System in the K-12 Curriculum
Authors: Committee on the Support for the Thinking Spatially: The Incorporation of Geographic Information Science Across the K-12 Curriculum, Committee on Geography, National Research Council

 Mathematics for Young Children
The Math for Young Children research project is a collaborative effort between researchers at Trent University, the University of Toronto and JK-Grade 2 educators in Ontario, Canada engaging in lesson study to explore young children's mathematics. Since the project launch in 2011, our emphasis has been on early geometry and spatial reasoning as a key to children's mathematical development. On this website, you will find resources created by each lesson study team, including lessons and playful exploratory tasks, photos and videos of student thinking as well as summaries of the research that underpins all of this work.

 From Mental Imagery to Spatial Cognition and Language: Essays in Honour of Michel Denis edited by Valérie Gyselinck, and Francesca Pazzaglia. Michel Denis is a Spatial Network Member.

♦ National Association of Geoscience Teachers
NAGT works to raise the quality of and emphasis on teaching the geosciences at all levels. One of its four principal missions is to foster knowledge of and research in geoscience education. NAGT publishes the Journal of Geoscience Education the premier peer-reviewed publication for geoscience education research at the undergraduate and pre-college levels.

♦ New Research Finds Number Talk Is Important Before Preschool

♦ Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2014
"The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2014 was divided, one half awarded to John O'Keefe, the other half jointly to May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser 'for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain'."

♦ On Pokemon GO, GIS, and Safety – essay by Joseph Kerski

♦ Paying Attention to Spatial Reasoning, K-12: Support Document for Paying Attention to Mathematics Education
Paying Attention to Mathematics Education provided an overview of what it would take to help Ontario students make – and sustain – gains in their learning and understanding of mathematics. It outlined seven foundational principles for planning and implementing improvements and gave examples of what each principle would involve.
This document gets more concrete by focusing on a particular area of mathematics. Other support documents will explore other key topics in mathematics teaching and learning.

♦ The People's Guide to Spatial Thinking by Diana Sinton with Sarah Bednarz, Phil Gersmehl, Robert Kolvoord, and David Uttal.
Available from the National Council for Geographic Education.

♦ Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators: Identifying and Developing Our Nation's Human Capital

♦ The Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
"The Science Education Resource Center (SERC) works to improve education through projects that support educators. Although our work has a particular emphasis on undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, we work with educators across a broad range of disciplines and at all educational levels. An office of Carleton College, our work is funded primarily through National Science Foundation grants. The office has special expertise in effective pedagogies, geoscience education, community organization, workshop leadership, digital libraries, website development and program and website evaluation."
Some links of interest: Spatial Thinking in the GeoSciences, Jigsaws [a Pedagogy in Action section], Research on Learning to the GeoSciences.

Science Learning and Instruction: Taking Advantage of Technology to Promote Knowledge Integration (New York: Routledge). One of the authors, Marcia C. Linn, is a Spatial Network Member.
More information: Open .pdf document
An additional site for purchasing the book: Amazon:

♦ Sea Hero Quest (game app that tests spatial navigation)
Hugo Spiers (Spatial Network Member) and Michael Hornberger have recently developed a mobile app game that simulates virtual navigation: sea hero quest.
They would be hugely grateful if you could share the link to the website to friends, family and colleagues, who can download the game and help them learn more about spatial navigation. The long-term aim is to test this on patients with dementia and assess its effectiveness as a diagnostic tool.

♦ Spatial Cognition and Computation
A multidisciplinary journal based on the assumption that the critical issues pertaining to spatial cognition and computation lie at the intersection of a number of disciplines, in particular, cognitive psychology, computer science, geography, neuropsychology and artificial intelligence. Recent years have seen a growth in the desire of these communities to share insights and results. The aim of the journal is both to concentrate the presentation of research into spatial cognition and computation, and to explicitly encourage an interdisciplinary dialogue.

♦ David Hallowell's Google+ page for Spatial Reasoning.

♦ Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP)
A program to expose talented undergraduates to professional and educational opportunities in the academy. The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented students who pursue academic careers by enhancing their preparation for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors.

♦ Synthesis of Research on Thinking and Learning in the Geosciences

Those who contribute to the understanding of spatial thinking and its applications are invited to participate in the collaborative creation of a wiki to serve undergraduate instructors interested in spatial thinking. Click on the link to find out more about the project and/or to add to the wiki.

♦ Transformational change is enabled as past technologies simplify, with connections to geospatial: video

♦ 20th anniversary special issue of Cognitive Science

♦ Ultimate Block Party: The mission of UBP (from their website):
The Ultimate Block Party aims to create a multi-pronged social movement that champions the importance of play and playful learning in children’s lives. We seek to ensure that all children are provided with competitive skills for the 21st century global world and to build a public groundswell about the value of play for fostering lifelong learning in the sciences and the arts. Our mission is to affect policy about children and the way we deliver education in our society.

♦ Video Series: A Day in the Life of a Spatial Thinker: series created by Joseph Kerski (Spatial Network Member).

♦ Cornelius, B. (August 30, 2013). WAMC: Northeast Public Radio's Academic Minute: Dr. Kelly Mix, Michigan State University – Spatial Training and Math Ability

Labs with SILC PersonnelBack to the Top

♦ Center for Early Childhood Research
Dr. Levine's research examines how variations in home and school input affect the cognitive development of children, including language, spatial and mathematical skills. She also examines plasticity of language and cognitive skills following early brain injury.
Center for Early Childhood Research is at: Department of Psychology, University of Chicago
Lab Director: Susan Levine (Co-PI)
♦ ChatLab of Cognitive Neurology
Our major emphasis is on the study of attention, perception, and language. The research is conducted by studying patients with selective deficits following brain damage and using functional neuroimaging in normal subjects.
ChatLab of Cognitive Neurology is at: Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania.
Lab Director: Anjan Chatterjee
♦ Cognition and Language Lab
Northwestern University researchers in the Cognition and Language Lab are currently conducting research on the effects of analogy and similarity on learning.
Cognition and Language Lab is at: Department of Psychology, Northwestern University.
Lab Director: Dedre Gentner (Co-PI)
♦ Cognition and Learning Lab
The Temple Cognition & Learning Lab, directed by Elizabeth Gunderson, Ph.D., investigates mathematical development from both cognitive and social perspectives, including topics such as numerical development, the relation between spatial and numerical skills, and the development of math anxieties and stereotypes. Participants’ age ranges from two year olds to adults with a focus on pre-k to elementary school
Cognition and Learning Lab is at: Department of Psychology, Temple University.
Lab Director: Elizabeth Gunderson
♦ Comprehension, Motivation and Cognition (CMAC) Lab
The Comprehension, Motivation, and Cognition Lab (CMAC). The CMAC Lab, headed by Jennifer Cromley, Ph.D. and Research Coordinator Theodore Wills, Ph.D., includes three sponsored research projects. The 21st Century Center for Cognition and Science Instruction is a national Center that is conducting a randomized controlled trial of middle school science curriculum modifications. Teaching Effective Use of Diagrammatic Reasoning in Biology is an experimental study comparing four methods of teaching high school biology students to reason with diagrams. A multimethod approach to understanding dropout from STEM gateway courses is a longitudinal, multimethod study of undergraduate dropout from chemistry and biology majors.
Comprehension, Motivation and Cognition (CMAC) Lab is at: Temple University.
Lab Directors: Jennifer G. Cromley and Research Coordinator, Theodore Wills
♦ Epstein Lab
All mobile organisms must represent the space around them if they are to successfully move and act in the world. In our lab, we use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioral testing to uncover the mechanisms that support spatial representation in humans. We are particularly interested in representations that are critical for navigation, such as representations of places (particular locations in the world) and scenes (i.e. the set of visual inputs observed when in a particular place).
Epstein Lab is at: Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania
Lab Director: Russell A. Epstein
♦ Goldin-Meadow Laboratory
It is commonly asked whether language is learned or innate. In my research, I recast the question so that it is amenable to investigation. I ask which aspects of language development are more (or less) sensitive to linguistic and environmental input. Specifically, I have been engaged in a research program to identify the properties of language whose development can withstand wide variations in learning conditions - the "resilient" properties of language.
Another facet of my work explores the spontaneous gestures that hearing adults and children produce as they speak.
Goldin-Meadow Laboratory is at: Department of Psychology, University of Chicago
Lab Director: Susan Goldin-Meadow (Co-PI)
♦ Human Performance Lab
Broadly speaking, work in our lab investigates the cognitive and neural substrates governing the learning and performance of complex cognitive skills (e.g., math problem solving) and complex sensorimotor skills (e.g., golf putting). We are interested in understanding the attention and memory processes that support task execution, as well as how high-pressure or high-stakes situations impact performance. Together, our work demonstrates how task type and skill level differences in the attentional demands of performance can be used to understand the nature of successful skill execution and why, at times, it fails to occur.
Human Performance Lab is at: University of Chicago
Lab Director: Sian Beilock
♦ Infant Cognition Lab
How do children develop? At the Northwestern University Infant Cognition Laboratory, we study how children learn to perceive and reason about the world around them. Our studies have shown that babies know much more than people once thought. We study topics like how infants remember objects, how children learn new words, how babies and children understand numbers, and more.
Infant Cognition Lab is at: Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
Lab Director: Sue Hespos
♦ Learning Lab
The Learning Lab at the University of Chicago is a collaborative research group that explores the development of human thinking and learning. We investigate the basic mechanisms of learning, their development, and how they function in dynamic, complex, everyday settings.
Learning Lab is at: The Department of Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago
Lab Director: Lindsey Richland
♦ Neurocognition Laboratory
Broadly, research in the Neurocognition Laboratory employs a cognitive neuroscientific approach to evaluate alternative theoretical claims surrounding the basic mechanisms of cognition, the relationship among these mechanisms, and the contribution each makes to high-level cognitive function. The lab employs functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in combination with traditional behavioral measures to test hypotheses regarding working memory, decision making, and cognitive control.
Neurocognition Laboratory is at: Department of Psychology, Temple University
Lab Director: Jason Chein
♦ Project on Children's Thinking
The Project on Children's Thinking studies the development of children's thought and language. We study how children come to know about the world, with a focus on how their growing insight into linguistic and conceptual structures influences their patterns of learning and reasoning.
One major focus of our research is how children come to learn about spatial relations and how this understanding affects their reasoning. We also study how language can help children think relationally at a younger age than they might otherwise.
Project on Children's Thinking is at: Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
Lab Director: Dedre Gentner (Co-PI)
♦ Qualitative Reasoning Group
The Qualitative Reasoning Group conducts research on: Qualitative representations and reasoning, Sketch understanding, Analogical reasoning and learning, Learning by reading, and How our progress in AI and cognitive science can be used to create new kinds of systems for education, performance support, and interactive entertainment.
Our research includes both efforts to create new kinds of cognitive systems, and to model human cognition.
Qualitative Reasoning Group is at: Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University
Lab Director: Kenneth Forbus
♦ Reading Comprehension Laboratory
Members of the Reading Comprehension Laboratory at Northwestern University examine the ways in which prior knowledge, unfolding discourse, and learner strategies interactively influence reading experiences. This has involved examination of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie learning from text, as well as the products that remain in memory after reading is completed. Recent extensions of this work have targeted (a) the remediation of struggling readers’ difficulties, (b) the development of computational simulations of reading activity, and (c) the application of discourse models towards understanding broader sets of experiences, including map comprehension and procedural learning with multimedia presentations.
♦ Research in Spatial Cognition Lab (RISC)
Spatial thinking is both a key intellectual issue in cognitive science and a critically important aspect of problem solving in science, engineering and mathematics. Spatial intelligence allows us to encode and transform information about objects and their location, and thus to find our way in the world and perform technical activities such as tool making. Beyond its direct applications in navigation and spatial manipulation, it also provides the foundation for a wide range of reasoning and communication skills, as varied as the design of buildings, the solution of mathematics problems, and the use of spatial metaphor in everyday language. The overarching goal of the RISC Lab is to understand spatial learning and cognition and how they can be fostered by effective technology and education.
Research in Spatial Cognition Lab (RISC) is at: Department of Psychology, Temple University
SILC Faculty associated with RISC: Jason Chein, Jennifer Cromley, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Nora S. Newcombe (PI), Thomas F. Shipley & Russell Epstein.
Lab Administrator: Alexander Boone
♦ Temple Infant and Child Laboratory
Join us in discovering how children from 5 months to 6 years learn about the world they live in. Our labs conduct cutting-edge research on spatial develoment, memory, language development, reading and the role of play in learning.
Temple Infant and Child Laboratory is at: Department of Psychology, Temple University
Lab Directors: Nora Newcombe (PI) and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
♦ (David H.) Uttal Lab
The overarching goal of our research is to investigate how people perceive and understand the world around them. Perception and conceptualization undergo a number of changes as children grow and develop. By approaching our investigation from a developmental perspective, we hope to acquire a richer understanding of these processes and of cognition in general. Further, in studying cognitive development we recognize that our work has important implications for education. Thus, we also strive to understand what makes certain educational programs and tools effective in the light of cognitive theories and processes.
David H. Uttal Lab is at: The Department of Psychology, The Cognitive Psychology Program, Northwestern University
Lab Director: David H. Uttal
♦ Vision Lab
Dr. Shipley's research interests include object, motion, and event perception, as well as spatial cognition, interactions between perception and spatial knowledge, and perceptual learning. Current research projects include: Biological Motion, Illusory Contours and Apparent Motion.
The Vision Lab is at: The Department of Psychology, Temple University
Lab Director: Thomas F. Shipley
♦ Visual Cognition Lab
Our research focuses on the tools that we use to select visual information, and how these tools are applied. How much of selection is automatic, and how much is under our control? Can we select more than one thing at a time? How do we maintain selection of an object when it moves?
We also study processes that support and interact with visual selection. These processes include visual memory, which helps us store what we have selected in the past, object tracking, which helps us maintain selection of moving objects, and number perception, which relies on selection mechanisms to construct the units underlying the counting process.
Visual Cognition Lab is at: The Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
Lab Director: Steven Franconeri
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