Educational Fund “Talent and success”, Centre “Sirius”,
Background. Recent research has suggested a unifactorial structure of spatial ability (SA). However, further studies are needed to replicate this finding in different populations.
Objective. is study aims to explore the factorial structure of SA in samples of 921 Russian and 229 Chinese university students.
Design. A gamified spatial abilities battery was administered to all participants. e battery consists of 10 different domains of SA, including 2D and 3D visualization, mental rotation, spatial pattern assembly, spatial relations, spatial planning, mechanical reasoning, spatial orientation, and spatial decision-making speed and flexibility.
Results. The results of the factor analysis showed a somewhat different pattern for different samples. In the Russian sample, the unifactorial structure, shown previously in a large UK sample (Rimfeld et al., 2017), was replicated. A single factor explained 40% of the variance. In the Chinese sample two factors emerged: the first factor explained 26% of the variance and the second factor, including only mechanical reasoning and cross-sections tests, explained 14%. e results also showed that the Chinese sample significantly outperformed the Russian sample in five out of the 10 tests. Russian students showed better performance in only two of the tests. The effects of all group comparisons were small.
Conclusion. Overall, a similar amount of variance in the 10 tests was explained in the two samples, replicating results from the UK sample. Future research is needed to explain the observed differences in the structure of SA.
Keywords: spatial ability (SA), factorial structure, Russian and Chinese students
Background. Mental fatigue is a state of tiredness, decreased motivation, and increased aversion to performing a task. Mental fatigue is associated with the length of engagement in an activity (time-on-task) and the degree of cognitive e ort required. In addition, mental fatigue can be affected by personality characteristics, such as trait or domain-specific anxiety. ere is a lack of research into associations between mental fatigue and trait anxiety, as well as specific types of anxiety such as math anxiety.
Objective. This study investigates whether the level of mental fatigue manifested in an EEG taken during the performance of a mixed problem-solving task, is associated with math and trait anxiety.
Design. An EEG recording was performed on participants in a resting state with their eyes closed in two runs, both before and after they performed a task. e task consisted of three types of stimuli: arithmetic, algebraic, and lexical.
Results. The results showed that the EEG correlates of fatigue changed be- tween the first and second runs. These changes were not linked with mathematics anxiety. Some significant EEG effects were found for trait anxiety: people with high trait anxiety appeared more aroused and showed less fatigue effects. However, these results did not reach the level of significance after correction for multiple comparisons.
Conclusion. Overall, our results are in line with the motivational control theory, according to which mental fatigue “resets” when a person switches from one task to another. In our study, the experimental paradigm consisted of three types of tasks, a format which might have prevented fatigue. We discuss the implications of the study for further research into the links between anxiety and mental fatigue.
Keywords: Mathematics anxiety (MA), trait anxiety (TA), EEG, mental fatigue