Gender differences in spatial ability of young children: the effects of training and processing strategies

Child Dev. 2010 Sep-Oct;81(5):1417-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01482.x.


A sample of 116 children (M=6 years 7 months) in Grade 1 was randomly assigned to experimental (n=60) and control (n=56) groups, with equal numbers of boys and girls in each group. The experimental group received a program aimed at improving representation and transformation of visuospatial information, whereas the control group received a substitute program. All children were administered mental rotation tests before and after an intervention program and a Global-Local Processing Strategies test before the intervention. The results revealed that initial gender differences in spatial ability disappeared following treatment in the experimental but not in the control group. Gender differences were moderated by strategies used to process visuospatial information. Intervention and processing strategies were essential in reducing gender differences in spatial abilities.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Space Perception*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Teaching
  • Visual Perception*