Hemisphere and gender differences in mental rotation

Brain Cogn. 1993 May;22(1):42-50. doi: 10.1006/brcg.1993.1023.


Hemisphere and gender differences in mental rotation for tachistoscopically presented stimuli were assessed in 40 right-handed university students. Twenty male and 20 female subjects each were individually administered (via computer) a mental rotation task which included 10 stimulus presentations at each of eight angular disorientations (0 degrees, 45 degrees, 90 degrees, 135 degrees, 180 degrees, 225 degrees, 270 degrees, and 315 degrees) in each visual half-field (VHF) for a total of 160 trials. Analyses of variance performed on reaction time and accuracy data revealed only a main effect for orientation. A typical mental rotation function for both the left VHF and the right VHF for both genders resulted; however, no gender x visual field interaction was found. Lack of hemisphere and gender differences provide further evidence questioning the interpretation of right-hemisphere male superiority for spatial tasks. Investigation into factors such as task complexity, stimulus familiarity, and task demands may lend further insight into hemisphere and gender differences in mental rotation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Dominance, Cerebral*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagination
  • Male
  • Orientation*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Problem Solving
  • Sex Characteristics*