Retention and diversity are central issues in engineering schools. Students' learning styles may hinder understanding of course material if presented in an incompatible way. While learning styles assessments are informative in determining the students' preferences in how they learn, there have been few studies that correlate student learning styles with cognitive and intellectual abilities. The goal of this study was to determine the relationship between students' learning styles, as determined by the Felder-Solomon Inventory of Learning Styles (ILS), and their cognitive abilities. This study uses functional electroencephalography (EEG) to evaluate the areas of neural activation in the brain while engineering students are performing a mental rotation task. Learning style preferences and mental rotation scores are correlated with the EEG activation. Learning styles differences were observed, primarily across gender. Most of these differences were in EEG patterns as opposed to actual task performance, indicating that individuals of different gender and learning style preference might be engaging different parts of the brain on a task while exhibiting similar performance on the task.