Ability and sex differences in spatial thinking: What does the mental rotation test really measure?

Ability and sex differences in spatial thinking: What does the mental rotation test really measure? Spatial ability tests are often interpreted as measuring facility with imagined spatial transformations of objects. But some spatial ability tests can be solved by analytic strategies as well as imagery transformation strategies. In the present study, participants gave verbal protocols while completing items on the Vandenberg and Kuse (Perceptual & Motor Skills, 4, 599–604, 1978) mental rotation test, and/or reported the strategies they had used on the test. Most participants used both imagery transformation and analytic strategies (i.e., feature-based, orientation-independent strategies) to solve the test items. Use of one analytic strategy, the global-shape strategy, was positively correlated with accuracy. Specifically, some of the most successful students used this strategy to eliminate answer choices, reducing the need for mental imagery. Men outperformed women, as is typical on this test, and were more likely than women to use the global-shape strategy, in particular, and more holistic strategies, in general. These results argue against the mental rotation test as a measure of spatial imagery alone and suggest that the ability to discover and use more efficient analytic strategies may be an important additional component of what this test measures. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychonomic Bulletin & Review Springer Journals

Ability and sex differences in spatial thinking: What does the mental rotation test really measure?

Loading next page...
 
/lp/springer_journal/ability-and-sex-differences-in-spatial-thinking-what-does-the-mental-CnVyEArOQ2
Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Psychonomic Society, Inc.
Subject
Psychology; Cognitive Psychology
ISSN
1069-9384
eISSN
1531-5320
D.O.I.
10.3758/s13423-017-1347-z
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Spatial ability tests are often interpreted as measuring facility with imagined spatial transformations of objects. But some spatial ability tests can be solved by analytic strategies as well as imagery transformation strategies. In the present study, participants gave verbal protocols while completing items on the Vandenberg and Kuse (Perceptual & Motor Skills, 4, 599–604, 1978) mental rotation test, and/or reported the strategies they had used on the test. Most participants used both imagery transformation and analytic strategies (i.e., feature-based, orientation-independent strategies) to solve the test items. Use of one analytic strategy, the global-shape strategy, was positively correlated with accuracy. Specifically, some of the most successful students used this strategy to eliminate answer choices, reducing the need for mental imagery. Men outperformed women, as is typical on this test, and were more likely than women to use the global-shape strategy, in particular, and more holistic strategies, in general. These results argue against the mental rotation test as a measure of spatial imagery alone and suggest that the ability to discover and use more efficient analytic strategies may be an important additional component of what this test measures.

Journal

Psychonomic Bulletin & ReviewSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 14, 2017

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off