Can Visual Arts Learning Improve Geometric Reasoning?

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  • Project in Amerika, 2008-2013 (gefinancierd door (NSF)


This project will investigate whether learning in the visual arts, a discipline in which students continually practice visualization, leads to improvements in geometric reasoning. This longitudinal, quasi-experimental study will compare high school students with and without extensive exposure to the visual arts. Geometric reasoning will be assessed at baseline and after one and two years of study, as will visualization skills in art, general spatial visualization, and control tasks not related to visualization. If the study supports the hypothesis that students in the arts group will show greater improvement in their geometric reasoning, future research will examine transfer between visual arts training and other STEM areas that depend on visualization such as physics, chemistry, biology, and additional areas in mathematics. This study promises to extend the boundaries of our understanding of the relation between visual-spatial thinking in mathematics and the visual arts and add to our understanding of the conditions under which near and far transfer may occur. It also has implications for increasing access to higher-level mathematics for students, particularly those students who have traditionally been underserved educationally, by increasing the number of students who succeed in geometry, and thereby increasing the numbers who stay in the mathematical pipeline.


  • Goldsmith, L.T., Hetland, L., & Winner, E. (2009, April). Learning in Visual Arts and Geometry: Designing a Transfer Study. Presented at AERA annual conference, San Diego, CA, in R. Siegesmund (Chair). Reaching out/crossing borders in visual arts research.
  • Meetkunst
  • Walker, C. M., Winner, E., Hetland, L., Simmons, S., & Goldsmith, L. (2011). Visual Thinking: Art Students Have an Advantage in Geometric Reasoning. Creative Education, 02(01), 22-26. doi: 10.4236/ce.2011.21004.
  • Winner, E, Hetland, L., & Goldsmith, L.T. (2009, April). Designing a test of spatial visualization for visual arts. Presented at NAEA annual conference, Minneapolis, MN, in Learning in Visual Arts: What and How.

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