Neuroimaging study: Building blocks activate spatial ability in children better than board games

Neuroimaging study: Building blocks activate spatial ability in children better than board games

Research from Indiana University has found that structured block-building games improve spatial abilities in children to a greater degree than board games.

The study, which appears in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, measured the relative impact of two games—a structured block-building game and a word-spelling board game—on children’s spatial processing, including mental rotation, which involves visualizing what an object will look like after it is rotated.

The research lends new support to the idea that such block games might help children develop spatial skills needed in science- and math-oriented disciplines.

It is also the first study to use neuroimaging to explore the effects of block building on brain activity, said Sharlene Newman, a professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, who led the research.

“Block play changed ,” Newman said. “It changed the way the children were solving the mental rotation problems; we saw increased activation in regions that have been linked to spatial processing only in the building blocks group.”

The structured block-building game used for the study was called “Blocks Rock”; the board game was Scrabble.

The research builds upon previous studies that have shown that children who frequently participate in activities such as block play, puzzles and board games have higher spatial ability than those who participate more in activities such as drawing, riding bikes, or playing with trucks and sound-producing toys.

It is also demonstrates that training on one visuo-spatial task can transfer to other tasks. In this instance, training on the structured block-building game resulted in transfer to mental rotation performance… Read More>>

Source: Medical Xpress

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