## Sex differences in mental rotation strategy

2006
Raabe, Sylvia
Höger, Rainer
Journal article
##### Published in
Perceptual and Motor Skills ; 103 (2006), 3. - pp. 917-930. - ISSN 0031-5125
##### Abstract
When humans decide whether two visual stimuli are identical or mirror images of each other and one of the stimuli is rotated with respect to the other, the time discrimination takes usually increases as a rectilinear function of the orientation disparity. On the average, males perform this mental rotation at a faster angular speed than females. This experiment required the rotation of both mirror-image-different and non-mirror-different stimuli. The polygonal stimuli were presented in either spatially unfiltered, high-pass or low-pass filtered versions. All stimulus conditions produced mental rotation-type effects but with graded curvilinear trends. Women rotated faster than men under all conditions, an infrequent outcome in mental rotation studies. Overall, women yielded more convexly curvilinear response functions than men. For both sexes the curvilinearity was more pronounced under the non-mirror-different, low-pass stimulus condition than under the mirror different, high-pass stimulus condition. The results are considered as supporting the occurrence of two different mental rotation strategies and as suggesting that the women were predisposed to use efficiently an analytic feature rotation strategy, while the men were predisposed to employ efficiently a holistic pattern rotation strategy. It is argued that the overall design of this experiment promoted the application of an analytic strategy and thus conferred an advantage to the female participants.
150 Psychology
##### Cite This
ISO 690RAABE, Sylvia, Rainer HÖGER, Juan DELIUS, 2006. Sex differences in mental rotation strategy. In: Perceptual and Motor Skills. 103(3), pp. 917-930. ISSN 0031-5125. Available under: doi: 10.2466/pms.103.3.917-930
BibTex
@article{Raabe2006-12diffe-20605,
year={2006},
doi={10.2466/pms.103.3.917-930},
title={Sex differences in mental rotation strategy},
number={3},
volume={103},
issn={0031-5125},
journal={Perceptual and Motor Skills},
pages={917--930},
author={Raabe, Sylvia and Höger, Rainer and Delius, Juan}
}

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<dcterms:abstract>When humans decide whether two visual stimuli are identical or mirror images of each other and one of the stimuli is rotated with respect to the other, the time discrimination takes usually increases as a rectilinear function of the orientation disparity. On the average, males perform this mental rotation at a faster angular speed than females. This experiment required the rotation of both mirror-image-different and non-mirror-different stimuli. The polygonal stimuli were presented in either spatially unfiltered, high-pass or low-pass filtered versions. All stimulus conditions produced mental rotation-type effects but with graded curvilinear trends. Women rotated faster than men under all conditions, an infrequent outcome in mental rotation studies. Overall, women yielded more convexly curvilinear response functions than men. For both sexes the curvilinearity was more pronounced under the non-mirror-different, low-pass stimulus condition than under the mirror different, high-pass stimulus condition. The results are considered as supporting the occurrence of two different mental rotation strategies and as suggesting that the women were predisposed to use efficiently an analytic feature rotation strategy, while the men were predisposed to employ efficiently a holistic pattern rotation strategy. It is argued that the overall design of this experiment promoted the application of an analytic strategy and thus conferred an advantage to the female participants.</dcterms:abstract>
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