University of Twente Student Theses


Influence of cognitive abilities on laparoscopic simulator trainer performance

Huijser, S. (2015) Influence of cognitive abilities on laparoscopic simulator trainer performance.

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Abstract:Objective: In practice, but also in research, it became noticed that there are large differences in the learning speed and capacity of surgical trainees in laparoscopic surgery. In an effort to predict these differences, researchers have studied the relationship between cognitive ability and learning to perform laparoscopic surgery, however the results were mixed. The aim of this study was to provide more insight in how cognitive ability is related to learning to perform laparoscopic surgery by considering three aspects of learning: speed of learning, maximum attainable performance, and total observed learning during the study period. It was hypothesized that high visual-spatial ability (VSA) is predictive of a high maximum performance. Furthermore, it was expected that high spatial memory (SM) would predict a great learning speed. Method: The study was divided in two parts. In the first study, a factor analysis was performed on an existing battery of cognitive ability tests in order to retrieve valid factors/abilities for experimentation. For this analysis, data from the Groenier et al. (2014) study was used. In total 98 students from two cohorts (2011 and 2012) participated in their study. In the follow-up study, the retrieved abilities were investigated in relation to laparoscopic simulator performance. Nineteen novice participants completed 12 attempts across three sessions of one hour (three hours in total) on a laparoscopic VR simulator task. Furthermore, cognitive ability tests for the retrieved abilities were conducted at the start of each session. Results: The results showed no predictive relationships for VSA and maximum performance and for SM and learning speed. However, high SM was found to be predictive of good initial performance. This initial advantage diminished quickly with practice on the simulator task. Conclusion: In this study, it was found that VSA does not influence learning to perform laparoscopy. Given the mixed results in the literature, it is not recommended to use this ability for selection and/or assessment. Regarding to spatial memory our results showed that a better initial performance was predicted by a high spatial memory capacity. This advantage however diminished quickly with practice. Although this does provide insight in how cognitive ability influences the learning curve for laparoscopy, it is not interesting for assessment or selection as it only applies to early learning. Therefore, more research is needed before cognitive abilities may be of particular use in laparoscopic training programs.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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