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A Meta-Analysis on Gender Differences in Mental Rotation Ability Measured by the Purdue Spatial Visualization Tests: Visualization of Rotations (PSVT:R)

Abstract

This meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the magnitude of gender difference in three-dimensional (3-D) mental rotation ability and to investigate how factors related to test administration conditions play a role in varying gender difference effect sizes and threatening validity. Individuals’ 3-D mental rotation ability was measured by the Purdue Spatial Visualization Tests: Visualization of Rotations (PSVT:R). We integrated 70 effect sizes of gender differences in mental rotation ability measured by the PSVT:R which were obtained from 40 primary studies. The results indicated that male participants outperformed females on the test (Hedges’ g = 0.57). The I 2 statistic indicated 41.7 % of variation in effect sizes reflects real heterogeneity. The moderator analysis indicated that male superiority on spatial ability tasks measured by the PSVT:R is related to the implementation of time limits. The gender difference became larger when stringent time limits (equal or less than 30 s per item) were implemented.

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Notes

  1. The MRT consists of 20 items and each multiple choice item of the MRT had two correct answers when it was developed. A participant gets one point when he or she identifies the two correct answers. A participant gets no point when he or she identifies only one or none of the two correct answers. Thus, the maximum score of the MRT is 20 points. An alternative scoring method gives a point for each correct answer and accordingly the maximum score is 40 points.

  2. The instrument is also cataloged in the Educational Testing Service Test Collection (Educational Testing Service 2009) and An International Directory of Spatial Tests (Eliot and Smith, 1983).

  3. The Purdue Visualization of Rotations Test (ROT) is a shortened version of the PSVT:R with 20 items, and the PSV:R is a 12-item shortened version of the PSVT:R

  4. References with * in the reference list indicate the studies used for the current meta-analysis.

References

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Correspondence to Yukiko Maeda.

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Maeda, Y., Yoon, S.Y. A Meta-Analysis on Gender Differences in Mental Rotation Ability Measured by the Purdue Spatial Visualization Tests: Visualization of Rotations (PSVT:R). Educ Psychol Rev 25, 69–94 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-012-9215-x

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Keywords

  • Meta-analysis
  • Gender difference
  • Spatial ability
  • Mental rotation
  • The PSVT:R