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Curriculum, Instruction, and Pedagogy ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Vet. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00226

Entry-level spatial and general non-verbal reasoning: Can these abilities be used as a predictor for anatomy performance in veterinary medical students?

  • 1Anatomy, Physiology and Cell biology, University of California, Davis, United States
  • 2Surgical and Radiological Sciences, University of California, Davis, United States
  • 3Biosciences and diagnostic imaging, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, United States
  • 4School of veterinary medicine, Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile
  • 5Department of Surgery, Division of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Stanford University, United States
  • 6Chief, Division of Clinical Anatomy, School of Medicine, Stanford University, United States

There is currently limited available information, but growing interest, in possible relationships between spatial visualization skills in medical students and their academic performance in select areas of the curriculum such as radiographic interpretation and anatomy. There is very limited comparable information on how entry-level spatial visualization skills may correlate with macroscopic anatomy performance in veterinary medical students exposed to an integrated curriculum.
The present study made use of a battery of two short tests that measure spatial ability: Guay’s visualization of views test (VVT) and mental rotation test (MRT) and, one test that measures general non-verbal reasoning abilities: Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices Test, short form (APMT). Tests were given to 1st-year veterinary medical students (n=124) immediately before commencing the integrated veterinary medical curriculum.
Results show there is a positive correlation between entry-level spatial ability and non verbal general reasoning scores confirming these abilities are linked (r: +0.22 and + 0.3 for VVT/APMT and MRT/APMT respectively). The dispersion and inconsistency of significant positive correlation between anatomy practical exams grade and spatial and general reasoning scores suggest these abilities either do not correlate with anatomy practical exams grade or, are overcome with progression through the anatomy courses. Males scored higher than females in the spatial ability tests: 16.59 vs. 12.06 for VVT (p = 0.01) and 19.0 vs. 14.68 for MRT (p = 0.01). Scores for APMT did not show a significant difference by gender.

Keywords: Spatial Ability, non-verbal reasoning ability, Veterinary anatomy, Curriculum, Anatomy

Received: 09 May 2018; Accepted: 29 Aug 2018.

Edited by:

Lynette A. Hart, University of California, Davis, United States

Reviewed by:

Malathi Raghavan, Purdue University, United States
Julie Williamson, University College of Veterinary Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Gutierrez, Holladay, Arzi, Gomez, Pollard, Youngblood and Srivastava. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Juan C. Gutierrez, University of California, Davis, Anatomy, Physiology and Cell biology, 1285 Veterinary Medicine Drive, Building VM3A #1208, Davis, 95616, CA, United States,