Complex Spatial Skills: The Link Between Visualization and Creativity

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a correlation between spatial skills and creativity in interior design students.

Participants were subjects who took a visualization assessment and created the 33 projects used in the study, and 11 judges, professional design experts who rated the projects. The sample of subjects was comprised of interior design students at a FIDER-accredited institution in southwest Virginia. The judges included interior design educators and interior design graduate students having previous practice experience.

Subjects completed a pencil-and-paper Visualization Assessment consisting of 36 questions using two-dimensional and three-dimensional drawings (Isham, 1997). A percentage score for spatial skills was calculated for each subject based on the number of correct answers.

Design projects created by the students were assessed by subjective ratings on three Dimensions of Judgment taken from the Consensual Technique for Creativity Assessment (Barnard, 1992; Amabile, 1982). The three dimensions used in this study included Appropriateness, Creativity, and Novelty. Ratings were collected in two judging sessions at a local site.

Interjudge reliabilities exceeded the established criterion level (.70 or greater) on all three dimensions, with coefficients ranging from .729 to .866. Interjudge reliability for the Creativity dimension was .866, indicating a high level of agreement among judges on creativity.

Intercorrelations among the dimensions indicated a high degree of association between the variables with Appropriateness and Novelty both significantly correlated with the Creativity dimension.

Pearson product-moment correlation was used to determine if there was a significant correlation between visualization and creativity in interior design students. No significant correlation was found.



visualization, creativity, spatial skills