How sex and college major relate to mental rotation accuracy and preferred strategy: An electroencephalographic (EEG) investigation

Yingli Li, Michael O'Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The electroencephalogram (EEG) was used to investigate variation in mental rotation (MR) strategies between males and females and different college majors. Beta activation was acquired from 40 participants (10 males and 10 females in physical science; 10 males and 10 females in social science) when performing the Vandenberg and Kuse (1978) mental rotation test (MRT). Males majoring in physical science showed increased activation over the right parietal area when performing the MRT, suggestive of a spatial/holistic strategy, while males majoring in social science showed increased activity over the left frontal region, indicative of a verbal/analytic strategy. Females, regardless of college major, showed bilateral activation, a pattern reflecting the use of a combined verbal/spatial MR strategy. These results provide evidence at the neural level that males and females, as well as physical and social science majors, are biased toward the use of different strategies when performing the MRT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-42
Number of pages16
JournalPsychological Record
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • College major
  • EEG
  • Mental rotation
  • Sex

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