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Mental Rotation

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Some people call it mental gymnastics, while others give it the more intimidating sounding label, cognitive spatial perception. No matter its name, the task is the same; being able to look at a figure and mentally rotate the object in one’s mind and then picture how the object will appear in its new orientation. Researchers have reported that a number of factors are related to this ability, such as gender, body kinesthetics, and even the type of toys a person played with as a child. Do you have what it takes to "bend" your mind?

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Mental Rotation Brochure

Mental Rotation Brochure

What is the difference between 2D and 3D figures?

Figures in 2D are flat figures that can be placed in the x and y coordinate grid. A rectangle, square, and circle are all 2D figures. 3D figures require an additional axis, the z axis. 3D figures include cubes, spheres, and pyramids.

What is spatial ability?

Spatial ability is a reasoning skill in which a person can think about 2D and 3D objects and complete various manipulations of the objects using only mental powers. Rotating, turning, sliding, repositioning, and predicting unseen surfaces are just a few of the most common spatial skills. A number of professions require keen spatial skills; including engineering, architecture, and machinists, just to name a few.

What is drafting?

Drafting is a profession that creates technical drawings of processes or structures that serve as models for the construction of the real object. For instance, a draftsperson first draws a blueprint for builders to follow in order to construct a house. Technical drawings must first be created for any manufactured product, from the smallest screw to the largest airplane.

What are some factors related to spatial abilities?

A number of seemingly unrelated factors have been shown to be positively correlated with having strong spatial abilities. People with exceptional dancing and athletic abilities tend to score higher on tests of spatial abilities than those with less skills in those areas. Just as surprising, males on average tend to outperform females on these same spatial tests. However, subsequent research has suggested that males did not have a genetic makeup that enhanced their spatial abilities. Instead, researches propose that the types of toys played with in youth can either enhance or diminish these skills. Toys that require assembling and reconfiguring increase spatial abilities later in life, while nurturing-type toys have not been shown to augment these abilities.


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