Self-reported craft expertise predicts maintenance of spatial ability in old age

Cogn Process. 2014 May;15(2):227-31. doi: 10.1007/s10339-013-0596-7. Epub 2014 Jan 4.


Three hundred and three female participants between the ages of 18 and 77 reported their experience in crafting (sewing, knitting, and crocheting) and completed a measure of spatial ability: The Paper Folding Test. To investigate the connection between spatial ability performance, age, and craft expertise, an ANOVA was conducted for the Paper Folding Test using two levels of crafting expertise (High and Low) and three age categories (younger adults: 18-39, middle-aged adults: 40-59, and older adults: 60-77). Performance on the spatial ability test declined with age as predicted from previous literature. However, there was a significant Age by Expertise interaction. No difference was found between High and Low craft expertise groups in younger adults (18-39), but there was a growing difference between expertise groups in middle-aged adults (40-59) and older adults (60-77). The results suggest that continued hands-on experience in spatial domains is a predictor of maintenance of spatial ability across the life span.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Aptitude / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hobbies / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Spatial Navigation / physiology*
  • Young Adult