Mental Rotation Of Images Essay

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Abstract

The idea of mental imagery has always been a controversial subject in the field of psychology. Many psychologists have argued that such a concept is impossible to measure because it can not be directly observed. Though they are right about this, it is not impossible to measure how quickly mental rotations of images are processed in our brains. Subjects in this experiment were presented two shapes simultaneously, via computer screen, and asked to make judgement, as quickly as possible, as to whether the two shapes presented were the same or mirror images. Two different shapes were used in this experiment, each given as often as the other. During each trial one shape remained stationary and the other was rotated with varying
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Of the 66 students 30 took part in the mental rotation condition and 30 in the manual rotation condition.
As expected, findings showed that there was in fact a strong relationship between the reaction times of the mental and manual rotations. As the angular disparity of both the mental and manual rotations increased so did reaction times. In almost all cases manual and mental reaction times matched each other. It was also observed by Wohlschlager & Wohlschlager (1998), that manual object rotation did not always follow the shortest path. Findings showed that in some trials students rotated images the longer way around. Thus, it was concluded that mental processes also rotate things the long way around, since reaction times did not differ much between the two groups, ultimately supporting their original hypothesis.
Desrocher, Smith & Taylor (1995) conducted a similar experiment with intentions of measuring reaction times. Only in this experiment the independent variable was not mental vs. manual rotation, but gender. They were interested in seeing if gender differences played a role in regard to reaction times, when presented with either a letter stimuli or picture stimuli. It has been noted that up to the present time, there have been no major findings that show any significant difference in the way men and woman process letter images. In tests, both men and woman performed equally well (Desrocher, smith &