Sex differences in spatial task performance of patients with and without unilateral cerebral lesions

Brain Cogn. 1987 Apr;6(2):142-52. doi: 10.1016/0278-2626(87)90115-1.


Two visuospatial tasks, the WAIS Block Design and the Street Gestalt Completion Test, were administered to men and women with and without unilateral cerebral lesions. These two tasks represent different categories of visuospatial functions. The Street test is a visual-perceptual gestalt task, requiring the closure of fragmented pictures, whereas Block Design is an analytical, manipulospatial task requiring rotation of spatial coordinates. For the non-brain-damaged group, the men showed a nonsignificant trend toward better Block Design performance relative to the women, whereas there was no sex-related difference in Street performance. For the brain-damaged groups, patients with right hemisphere lesions performed significantly worse than patients with left hemisphere lesions on both the Street test and Block Design, indicating that both tasks were more sensitive to right hemisphere functioning. There was, however, a significant sex X side of lesion interaction on Block Design only, with the men showing a more asymmetrical pattern of scores. These results suggest that sex differences in functional lateralization may underlie sex differences in visuospatial ability, and that sex differences in functional lateralization may be present for only certain visuospatial processes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology*
  • Cerebral Infarction / psychology
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Dominance, Cerebral*
  • Female
  • Form Perception*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Orientation*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Sex Factors