alexa Applications of mental rotation figures of the Shepard and Metzler type and description of a mental rotation stimulus library.


Journal of Forensic Psychology

Author(s): Peters M, Battista C

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Abstract The 3D cube figures used by Shepard and Metzler [Shepard, R. N., & Metzler, J. (1971). Mental rotation of three-dimensional objects. Science, 171, 701-703] have been applied in a broad range of studies on mental rotation. This note provides a brief background on these figures, their general use in cognitive psychology and their role in studying spatial behavior. In particular, it is pointed out that large sex differences with the 3D mental rotation figures tend to be observed only in particular tasks, such as the Vandenberg and Kuse test [Vandenberg, S. G., & Kuse, A. R. (1978). Mental rotations, a group test of three-dimensional spatial visualization. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 47, 599-604] that involve multiple figures within a single problem. In contrast, pairwise presentation of the same 3D figures yields either small or no significant sex differences. In the context of the very broad range of ongoing research done with 3D figures, and the desirability of uniformity in the stimulus material used, we introduce a library of 16 cube mental rotation figures, each presented in orientations ranging from 0 to 360 degr in 5 degr steps, and with its mirror image, for a total of 2336 figures. This library, freely available to researchers, will help in the creation of mental rotation tasks both for presentation on the computer screen and for pencil and paper applications. This article was published in Brain Cogn and referenced in Journal of Forensic Psychology

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