In the Surface Development Test, self-perceived Sewing Expertise was significant in predicting participants' test scores. For the Paper Folding Test, Knitting and Crocheting Expertise were significant, suggesting expertise may mitigate age effects.; Spatial ability has been a topic of much research and debate over the past few decades. Yet, there are gaps in the current literature. Spatial ability refers to the aptitude of an individual to mentally rotate objects, visualize spaces, and recognize patterns (Linn & Petersen, 1985). A highly spatial task that is not addressed in research literature is crafting. Crafting may refer to knitting, crocheting, sewing, and other hobbies that include manipulations of materials. These crafts are spatially oriented, because they necessitate mental rotation, pattern recognition, and 3-D visualization to create an object. While research tends to favor males on certain spatial tests (Voyer, Voyer, & Bryden, 1995), research on the relationship between expertise and spatial ability has concentrated on traditionally male dominated domains, such as architecture and video games (Salthouse & Mitchell, 1990; Sims & Mayer, 2002). The traditionally female domain of needlework crafting expertise has not been studied empirically. First, a literature review is presented to give an overview of previous spatial ability research. The paper then describes the needlework crafts of sewing, knitting, and crocheting, including their historical significance and the spatial processes involved. A study was conducted to test the hypothesis that more expertise in needlework crafts will correlate with better performance on spatial ability tests. Three hundred and four adult women (ages 18-77) completed the study. Participant experience level was determined by self-perceived level of crafting expertise. Participants performed three spatial ability tests from the ETS Factor Reference Kit (Ekstrom et al., 1976): Paper Folding, Surface Development, and Card Rotations. Results indicated that age was correlated negatively with performance in all spatial tests. Only age was significant in the Card Rotations Test.


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Thesis Completion





Sims, Valerie


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences

Degree Program



Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

Included in

Psychology Commons