My visuospatial reasoning skills have proven essential to my learning of anatomy. As I perform a dissection, I’m constantly recalling, scrutinizing, and manipulating mental images.
For example, I’ll think something along the lines of:
I’m currently viewing a cadaver from the anterior side. I know that, on the posterior side, the circumflex scapular artery emerges from the triangular space, between the teres major and minor muscles and medial to the long head of the triceps brachii. Here, I see the subscapular artery, which divides into thoracodorsal and the circumflex scapular. I know that the proximal branch must be the circumflex scapular, since I see it diving deep between the teres muscles, into what, on the posterior side, will become the triangular space.
And so on.
I quickly found that I was not alone in citing the benefits of visuospatial reasoning to medicine (1).
So, I started to wonder: can visuospatial ability be quantified? Can it be improved?