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Compares good and poor cognitive mappers on a number of individual difference variables potentially related to cognitive mapping skill: spatial abilities, visual/verbal processing style, motivation, and experience. Good and poor mapper groups were given several assessment tests for each of these categories. Comparisons of good and poor mappers' performance on these tests indicated that only spatial abilities reliably distinguished good mappers from poor mappers. Good cognitive mappers showed greater visualization ability, spatial orientation ability, visual memory, and field independence. Other measures showed no between-group differences. It is concluded that spatial ability is a major determinant of cognitive mapping skill and that spatial ability tests can be used to select personnel for tasks requiring navigation, orientation, and spatial judgment skills.

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This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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