Cognitive Processing

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 159–172 | Cite as

The Bergen left–right discrimination test: practice effects, reliable change indices, and strategic performance in the standard and alternate form with inverted stimuli

  • Philip GreweEmail author
  • Hanno A. Ohmann
  • Hans J. Markowitsch
  • Martina Piefke
Research Report


Several authors pointed out that left–right discrimination (LRD) tasks may be entangled with differential demands on mental rotation (MR). However, studies considering this interrelationship are rare. To differentially assess LRD of stimuli with varying additional demands on MR, we constructed and evaluated an extended version of the Bergen right–left discrimination (BRLD) test including additional subtests with inverted stickmen stimuli in 174 healthy participants (50♂, 124♀) and measured subjective reports on participants’ strategies to accomplish the task. Moreover, we analyzed practice effects and reliable change indices (RCIs) on BRLD performance, as well as gender differences. Performance significantly differed between subtests with high and low demands on MR with best scores on subtests with low demands on MR. Participants’ subjective strategies corroborate these results: MR was most frequently reported for subtests with highest MR demands (and lowest test performance). Pronounced practice effects were observed for all subtests. Sex differences were not observed. We conclude that our extended version of the BRLD allows for the differentiation between LRD with high and low demands on MR abilities. The type of stimulus materials is likely to be critical for the differential assessment of MR and LRD. Moreover, RCIs provide a basis for the clinical application of the BRLD.


Left–right discrimination Mental rotation Practice effects Spatial cognition Subjective strategies 



MP and HJM are supported by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft [DFG]; EC 277). We are very thankful to Sonja Ofte for the stimuli of the Bergen right–left discrimination test. We thank our colleagues in the Physiological Psychology department and the CITmed project for their scientific and technical support and helpful advice. We especially thank Alsonso Ortega for his helpful advice concerning the statistical analyses.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 17 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (PDF 21 kb)
10339_2013_587_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (47 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 46 kb)


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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Grewe
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Hanno A. Ohmann
    • 2
    • 4
  • Hans J. Markowitsch
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martina Piefke
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Physiological PsychologyBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)Bielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany
  3. 3.Bethel Epilepsy CentreMara HospitalBielefeldGermany
  4. 4.Department of Research, Evaluation and Documentation, Clinic of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy BethelEv. Hospital BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  5. 5.Neurobiology and Genetics of BehaviorWitten/Herdecke UniversityWittenGermany

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