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The question for this research is whether athletes, particularly those who compete on the intercollegiate level, have spatial abilities and better memory for location than non-athletes. The present experiment tested memory for location using stimuli consisting of a target presented among varying numbers of distracters (other target-like objects). In a second display for each trial, the target had moved. For each trial, participants remembered either the beginning or ending location of the target. We hypothesized that memory performance would decrease with an increase in the number of distracters. On the other hand, a landmark (such as a black stationary oval in the center of the display) would improve memory performance. We expected that the landmark would facilitate memory for the location of the target before and after movement by providing a reference for the application of mental spatial coordinates. We also expected that athletes would perform better on tasks of spatial intelligence due to their practice with understanding objects in a spatial layout, such as a football field or a basketball court. Preliminary analyses support these expectations although everyday memory, such as memory span, appears to be the same for athletes and non-athletes.

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Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Susan T. Davis

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium poster

Measuring Spatial Intelligence and Memory for Location in Athletes