Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Joanne C. Preston


Recent studies have indicated that performance on Piaget's water level task is related to spatial ability. The present study examined the relationship of adult performance on the water level task to spatial orienta­ tion ability, visualization ability and verbal ability. A sample of college stud ents, thirty males and thirty females, were classified as either sophisticated or naive in water level task performance. The students were then given two tests of spatial ability; in addition, a measure of verbal ability was obtained. Spatial orientation ability was measured by the Guilford-Zimmerman Spatial Orientation Test, visualization by the Re­vised Minnesota Paper Form Board Test and verbal ability by the College Entrance Examination Board test of verbal ability. Three two-factor analyses of variance were used to examine the data. The results revealed that both spatial ability tests were significantly related to performance on the water level task. Sophisticated subjects, regardless of sex, evidenced significantly better spatial ability than naive subjects. No significant relationship with verbal ability was found. It was concluded that adult performance on the water level task is related to spatial ability and not to a cognitive based process for the conception of space.