Preferences help
enabled [disable] Abstract
Number of results
2018 | 101 | 77-88
Article title

Development of mental rotation ability at primary school level

Title variants
Languages of publication
Although mental rotation ability has been researched broadly in cognitive psychology and neural studies, development of mental rotation and the effective method of training are rarely considered as an area of study in the education field. We aimed to study the development of mental rotation through the training program by three-dimensional twisty puzzle in two groups of school students (8-9-years, n=13 and 11-12-years, n=17). This quasi-experimental study with the pre-test post-test design was conducted at the Tehran international school girls. The students' mental rotation ability was evaluated using the well established testing methods (VMRT; Vandenberg & Kuse, 1978). After the initial test and training program (twelve 60-minute sessions), the results of the within-subject ANOVA indicated that 8-9-years school children were incompetent after post-test through follow-up session, whereas the 11-12-years school students did make gain in post-test and three months after training program. The study findings suggest that development of MR ability by three-dimensional puzzles can be wielded throughout extra school training program among primary school students.
Physical description
  • Tehran International and Adaptive School (Girls), Tehran, Iran
  • Tehran International and Adaptive School (Girls), Tehran, Iran
  • Co-operation and Walfare Affairs, Ministry of Education, Tehran, Iran
  • Intellectual Game Committee, Ministry of Sports and Youth, Tehran, Iran
  • Sociology Research Center, Ministry of Education, Tehran, Iran
  • Department of Clinical Psychology, Islamic Azad University, Birjand, Iran
  • [1] Lohman DF. Spatial Ability and G. In I. Dennis, & P. Tapsfield (Eds.), Human abilities: Their nature and assessment. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. (1996) 97-116.
  • [2] Zacks JM. Neuroimaging studies of mental rotation: a meta-analysis and review. J Cogn Neurosci. 20(1) (2008) 1–19. doi:10.1162/jocn.2008.20013.
  • [3] Shepard RN, Matzler J. Mental rotation of three-dimensional objects. Science. 171(3972) (1971) 701-3. doi: 10.1126/science.171.3972.701.
  • [4] Harris J, Newcombe NS, Hirsh-Pasek K. A new twist on studying the development of dynamic spatial transformations: Mental paper folding in young children. Mind, Brain, and Education. 7(1) (2013) 49–55. doi: 10.1111/mbe.12007.
  • [5] Gaylord SA, Marsh GR. Age differences in the speed of a spatial cognitive process. J Gerontol. 30(6) (1975) 674-8.
  • [6] Kail R, Pellegrino J, Carter P. Developmental changes in mental rotation. J Exp Child Psychol. 29(1) (1980) 102-16.
  • [7] Kosslyn SM, Margolis JA, Barrett AM, Goldknopf EJ, Daly PF. Age difference in imagery abilities. Child Dev. 61(4) (1990) 995-1010. doi:10.2307/1130871.
  • [8] Jansen-Osmann P, Heil M. Suitable stimuli to obtain (no) gender differences in the speed of cognitive processes involved in mental rotation. Brain Cogn. 64(3) (2007) 217–27. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2007.03.002.
  • [9] Hahn N, Jansen P, Heil M. Preschoolers' mental rotation: Sex differences in hemispheric asymmetry. J Cogn Neurosci. 22(6) (2010) 1244–50. doi: 10.1162/jocn.2009.21236.
  • [10] Titze C, Jansen P, Heil M. Mental rotation performance and the effect of gender in fourth graders and adults. Eur J Dev Psychol. 7(4) (2010) 432–44.
  • [11] Geiser C, Lehmann W, Eid M. Separating "Rotators" from "Nonrotators" in the mental rotations test: A multigroup latent class analysis. Multivariate Behav Res. 41(3) (2006) 261-93. doi: 10.1207/s15327906mbr4103_2.
  • [12] Burnet SA, Lane DM. Effects of academic instruction on spatial visualization. Intelligence. 4(3) (1980) 233-42.
  • [13] Lord TR. Enhancing the visuo-spatial aptitude of students. J Res Sci Teach. 22(5) (1985) 395-405.
  • [14] Hoyek N, Colle, C, Fargier P, Guillot A. The use of the Vandenberg and Kuse Mental Rotation Test in children. J Individ Differ. 33(1) (2012) 62-7.
  • [15] Jansen P, Schmelter A, Quaiser-Pohl C, Neuburger S, Heil M. Mental rotation performance in primary school age children: are there gender differences in chronometric tests? Cogn Dev. 28(1) (2013) 51-62.
  • [16] Bishop JE. Developing students' spatial ability. The Sci Teacher. 45(2) (1978) 20-3.
  • [17] Casey BM, Andrews N, Schindler H, Kersh JE, Samper A, Copley J. The development of spatial skills through interventions involving block building activities. Cogn Instr. 26(3) (2008) 269-309.
  • [18] Jirout JJ, Newcombe NS. Building blocks for developing spatial skills evidence from a large, representative US sample. Psychol Sci. 26(3) (2015) 302-10. doi: 10.1177/0956797614563338.
  • [19] Levine SC, Ratliff KR, Huttenlocher J, Cannon J. Early puzzle play: a predictor of preschoolers' spatial transformation skill. Deve Psychol. 48(2) (2012) 530–42. doi: 10.1037/a0025913.
  • [20] Ginn SR, Pickens SJ. Relationships between spatial activities and scores on the mental rotation test as a function of sex. Percept Mot Skills. 100(3pt 1) (2005) 877-81. doi: 10.2466/pms.100.3.877-881.
  • [21] Nazareth A, Herrera A, Pruden SM. (2013). Explaining sex differences in mental rotation: role of spatial activity experience. Cogn Process. 14(2) (2013) 201-4. doi: 10.1007/S10339-013-0542-8.
  • [22] Newcombe NS. Picture this: increasing math and science learning by improving spatial thinking. Am Educator. 34(2) (2010) 29-35.
  • [23] Evans GW. The environment of childhood poverty. Am Psychol. 59(2) (2004) 77–92. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.59.2.77.
  • [24] Kail R. The impact of extended practice on rate of mental rotation. J Exp Child Psychol. 42(3) (1986) 378–91.
  • [25] Kail R, Park YS. Impact of practice on speed of mental rotation. J Exp Child Psychol. 49(2) (1990) 227–44.
  • [26] Carlisle PR. Encyclopedia of play in today's society. SAGE. New Delhi. (2009) Volume 1.
  • [27] Bossert P. You can do the cube. London: Puffin books (2008) 112 p.
  • [28] Vandenberg SG, Kuse AR. Mental rotations, a group test of three-dimensional spatial visualiztion. Percept Mot Skills. 47(2) (1978) 599-604.
  • [29] Hegarty M, Montello D, Richardson A, Ishikawa T, Lovelace K. Spatial abilities at different scales: Individual differences in aptitude-test performance and spatial-layout learning. Intelligence. 34(2) (2006) 151-76.
  • [30] Moe A, Meneghetti C, Cadinu M. Women and mental rotation: Incremental theory and spatial strategy use enhance performance. Personal Individ Differ. 46(2) (2009) 187-91.
  • [31] Stumpf H. Performance factors and gender-related differences in spatial ability: Another assessment. Mem Cognit. 21(6) (1993) 828-36.
  • [32] Voyer D, Butler T, Cordero J, Brake B, Silbersweig D, Stern E, Imperato-McGinley J. The relation between computerized and paper-and-pencil mental rotation tasks: A validation study. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 28(6) (2006) 928-39. doi: 10.1080/13803390591004310.
  • [33] Cohen J. Multiple regression as a general data-analytic system. Psychol Bull. 70(6, Pt. 1) (1968) 426–43. doi: 10.1037/h0026714.
  • [34] Marmor GS. Development of kinetic images: When does the child first represent movement in mental images? Cogn Psychol. 7(4) (1975) 548–59.
  • [35] Kail R. Processing time decreasing globally at an exponential rate during childhood and adolescence. J Exp Child Psychol. 56(2) (1993) 254–65. doi: 10.1006/jecp.1993.1034.
  • [36] Casey MB, Colon D, Goris Y. Family handedness as a predictor of mental rotation ability among minority girls in a math-science training program. Brain and Cogn. 18(1) (1992) 88–96.
  • [37] Linn MC, Petersen AC. Emergence and characterization of sex differences in spatial ability: a meta-analysis. Child Dev. 56(6) (1985) 1479–98.
  • [38] Geiser C, Lehmann W, Corth M, Eid M. Quantitative and qualitative change in children’s mental rotation performance. Learn Individ Differ. 18(4) ((2008) 419–29.
  • [39] Funk M, Brugger P, Wilkening F. Motor processes in children's imagery: the case of mental rotation of hands. Dev Sci. 8(5) (2005) 402-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2005.00428.x.
  • [40] Feng J, Spence I, Pratt J. Playing an action video game reduces gender differences in spatial cognition. Psychol Sci. 18(10) (2007) 850-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01990.x.
  • [41] Terlecki MS, Newcombe NS. How important is the digital divide? The relation of computer and videogame usage to gender differences in mental rotation ability. Sex Roles. 53(5-6) (2005) 433–41. doi: 10.1007/s11199-005-6765-0.
  • [42] Baron-Cohen S, Ashwin E, Ashwin C, Tavassoli T, Chakrabarti B. Talent in autism: hyper-systemizing, hyper-attention to detail and sensory hypersensitivity. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 364(1522) (2009) 1377–83. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0337.
  • [43] Hobbs J. Rubik's cube a teacher tool for mathematics and science. Sch Sci Math. 85(5) (1985) 367-73.
  • [44] Bradley RH, Corwyn RF. Socioeconomic status and child development. Annu Rev Psychol. 53(1) (2002) 371–99. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.53.100901.135233.
  • [45] Levine SC, Vasilyeva M, Lourenco SF, Newcombe NS, Huttenlocher J. Socioeconomic status modifies the sex difference in spatial skill. Psychol Sci. 16(11) (2005) 841-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2005.01623.x.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.