Recent developments in educational practices have identified the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) areas as important, but this emphasis on STEM fields has sacrificed educational focus on the Arts (Cohen, 2016). This is a significant loss, not only in terms of the loss of humanities education in itself, but through the potential loss of foundational skills through practice in artistic areas. The current paper explores this idea by investigating the correlational relationship between visual spatial abilities and participation in a variety of creative activities. Spatial ability is known to be a cognitive skill that underlies success in STEM related disciplines. Though numerous studies have explored spatial ability, no much is known about how individual differences in spatial ability arise. One possible area of inquiry is personal hobbies. It seems likely that creative hobbies that involve spatial-cognitive mechanisms would increase spatial ability. Knowledge gained concerning the relationship between spatial ability and creative pursuits may not only support education within artistic fields, but also within science, academia, and industry. If there is a relationship between frequent engagement in creative activities increased spatial abilities, we will have a stronger case for not cutting Arts education and can potentially provide a new approach to STEM pedagogy.

The intent of the proposed study is to look at the connection between the frequency of engaging in eight extracurricular activities (e.g. literature, music, arts-and-crafts, creative cooking, science and engineering, sports, visual arts, and performing arts) and whether or not engagement in these activities correspond with increases in spatial ability.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Whitten, Shannon


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Undergraduate Studies


Interdisciplinary Studies



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date