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Brain Cogn. 1995 Jun;28(1):39-58.

A redrawn Vandenberg and Kuse mental rotations test: different versions and factors that affect performance.

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Dept. Psychology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


The available versions of the Vandenberg and Kuse (1978) Mental Rotations Test (MRT) have physically deteriorated because only copies of copies are available. We report results from a redrawn version of the MRT and for alternate versions of the test. Males perform better than females, and students drawn from the physical sciences perform better than students drawn from the social sciences and humanities, confirming other reports with the original version of the MRT. Subjects find it very hard to perform the MRT when stimuli require rotation along both the top/bottom axis and the left/right axis. The magnitude of effect sizes for sex (which account, on average, for some 20% of the variance) does not increase with increasing difficulty of the task. Minimal strategy effects were observed and females did not perform differently during the menstrual period as opposed to the days between the menstrual periods. Practice effects are dramatic, confirming other reports with the original MRT, and can also be shown to be powerful in a transfer for practice paradigm, where test and retest involve different versions of the MRT. Main effects of handedness on MRT performance were not found.

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