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Spatial Thinking and Cognitive Processing in Meteorology

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Heather Petcovic


Science Education

Presentation Date


Document Type



Evidence suggests that spatial skills are highly malleable and that training in spatial thinking is effective, durable, and transferrable1. Understanding how meteorologists employ spatial skills in the forecasting process has implications for operational weather forecasting and meteorology education. This study began with exploratory research that identified mental animation and disembedding as key spatial skills used in weather forecasting. A follow-on pilot study tested the instruments, collected think-aloud data and found a correlation between spatial skills and forecasting. The complete study, in progress, is investigating the effect of spatial thinking, working memory and expertise on forecast task performance.

Included in

Meteorology Commons