Sex differences in components of imagined perspective transformation

Gardner, Mark, Sorhus, Ingrid, Edmonds, Caroline J. and Potts, Rosalind (2012) Sex differences in components of imagined perspective transformation. Acta Psychologica, 140 (1). pp. 1-6. ISSN 0001-6918

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Little research to date has examined whether sex differences in spatial ability extend to the mental self rotation involved in taking on a third party perspective. This question was addressed in the present study by assessing components of imagined perspective transformations in twenty men and twenty women. Participants made speeded left–right judgements about the hand in which an object was held by front- and back- facing schematic human figures in an “own body transformation task.” Response times were longer when the figure did not share the same spatial orientation as the participant, and were substantially longer than those made for a control task requiring left-right judgements about the same stimuli from the participant's own point of view. A sex difference in imagined perspective transformation favouring males was found to be restricted to the speed of imagined self rotation, and was not observed for components indexing readiness to take a third party point of view, nor in left-right confusion. These findings indicate that the range of spatial abilities for which a sex difference has been established should be extended to include imagined perspective transformations. They also suggest that imagined perspective transformations may not draw upon those empathic social-emotional perspective taking processes for which females show an advantage.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: University of Westminster > Social Sciences and Humanities
Depositing User: Rachel Wheelhouse
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2012 10:22
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2012 10:22

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