Strategy Selection versus Flexibility : Using Eye-trackers to Investigate Strategy Use during Mental Rotation

Nazareth, Alina and Killick, Rebecca Claire and Dick, Anthony Steven and Pruden, Shannon M. (2019) Strategy Selection versus Flexibility : Using Eye-trackers to Investigate Strategy Use during Mental Rotation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 45 (2). pp. 232-245. ISSN 0278-7393

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Spatial researchers have been arguing over the optimum cognitive strategy for spatial problem-solving for several decades. The current article aims to shift this debate from strategy dichotomies to strategy flexibility-a cognitive process, which although alluded to in spatial research, presents practical methodological challenges to empirical testing. In the current study, participants' eye movements were tracked during a mental rotation task (MRT) using the Tobii x60 eye-tracker. Results of a latent profile analysis, combining different eye movement parameters, indicated two distinct eye-patterns-fixating and switching patterns. The switching eye-pattern was associated with high mental rotation performance. There were no sex differences in eye-patterns. To investigate strategy flexibility, we used a novel application of the changepoint detection algorithm on eye movement data. Strategy flexibility significantly predicted mental rotation performance. Male participants demonstrated higher strategy flexibility than did female participants. Our findings highlight the importance of strategy flexibility in spatial thinking and have implications for designing spatial training techniques. The novel approaches to analyzing eye movement data in the current paper can be extended to research beyond the spatial domain.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
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©American Psychological Association, 2018. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: 10.1037/xlm0000574
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? cognitivespatialeye-movementsex differenceschangepoint analysisexperimental and cognitive psychology ??
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Deposited On:
24 Jan 2018 13:26
Last Modified:
16 Dec 2023 01:24