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Behav Neurosci. 1997 Aug;111(4):845-9.

A large sex difference on a two-dimensional mental rotation task.

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Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.


Mental rotation tests require participants to identify rotated versions of a target stimulus. The Vandenberg Mental Rotations Test depicts rotations in 3-D space and typically yields one of the largest established cognitive sex differences favoring males. It is presently unclear whether this male advantage is related to the nature of rotations depicted in 3-D space or to the high level of difficulty of this task. The present study developed a new test depicting picture plane, or 2-D, rotations. When task difficulty within this 2-D test was varied, a male advantage as large as that seen on the Vandenberg test was found for the difficult component. These findings suggest that processing in 3 dimensions is not a necessary condition for a large sex difference on tests of mental rotation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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