The relation between computerized and paper-and-pencil mental rotation tasks: A validation study

Daniel Voyer, Tracy Butler, Juan Cordero, Brandy Brake, David Silbersweig, Emily Stern, Julianne Imperato-McGinley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The present study aimed at validating a computerized mental rotation task developed for use in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) studies. Eighty-three females and 74 males completed the computerized task, two pencil-and-paper tests of mental rotation, and reported their high school grades in mathematics, English, and history. The computerized task involved the presentation of pairs of three-dimensional stimuli that differed in orientation by 0, 40, 80, 120, or 160 degrees. Results showed significant gender differences in favor of males in the three main tasks, although gender interacted with angle of rotation in the computerized task. Evidence for concurrent validity was obtained in the form of significant correlations between performance on tasks relevant to mental rotation (paper and pencil tests and mathematics grades), whereas discriminant validity was demonstrated by a lack of correlation with tasks deemed irrelevant to mental rotation (English and history grades). These findings support the use of our computerized mental rotation task as a valid measure of mental rotation abilities in fMRI studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)928-939
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


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