Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA in Psychology



First Advisor

Dr. Allison J. Jaeger

Second Advisor

Dr. Melissa Peckins


High spatial skills tend to be a strong indicator for predicting STEM success. There are varying abilities when it comes to spatial skills, despite that spatial skills are adaptable and can develop with proper training. The aim of this experiment was to investigate the role of strategy instruction on spatial thinking performance. More specifically whether or not a response elimination strategy (count the number of folds and multiply by two) or a visualization strategy (imagining unfolding the paper) would be more beneficial in terms of improving Paper folding task score. Students participating in this experiment were undergraduate students from St. John’s University (n=108 age mean = 20.794, SD= 3.325, female= 463, male= 149. We found that strategy instruction does not impact overall performance in paper folding task score, in either the response elimination condition or visualization condition. The relationship between spatial skill level and strategy instruction was also investigated. Based on the scores of the Mental Rotation task students were divided into three groups (Low, Moderate, High) which determined their spatial thinking skill level. It was through these analyses we also discovered difference in paper folding score between the visualization condition and the response elimination conditions for participants in both the low and moderate spatial skill level groups. However, for participants in the high spatial thinking skill level group, paper folding scores were lower in the response elimination strategy condition compared to the visualization strategy condition. These results suggest that we must consider individual differences when it comes to strategy instruction.