Sex Roles

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 274–281

Where are the Gender Differences? Male Priming Boosts Spatial Skills in Women

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-008-9448-9

Cite this article as:
Ortner, T.M. & Sieverding, M. Sex Roles (2008) 59: 274. doi:10.1007/s11199-008-9448-9


The effects of gender stereotype activation by priming on performance in a spatial task were investigated among a mixed adult sample (including students) of 161 men and women (mean age = 31.90) from Austria (Europe). They were assigned to one of four experimental groups according to gender and stereotype activation condition. After a male or female gender stereotype activating task, participants worked on a test assessing mental rotation (three-dimensional cube test, Gittler 1990). A significant main effect of priming on the performance in the mental rotation task emerged. Cohen’s d showed a pronounced gender difference emerging only in the female priming condition (d = .59), whereas it disappeared in the male priming condition (d = .01).


Gender priming Gender differences Spatial skills Mental rotation Test fairness 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Division for Psychological AssessmentHumboldt University BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Division for Differential and Gender PsychologyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany