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Mom, Let Me Play More Computer Games: They Improve My Mental Rotation Skills

Abstract

This study investigated how 3-D and 2-D computer game practice and delivery as well as individual differences affect performance on two tests of mental rotation (Vandenberg Mental Rotation Test and Card Rotation Test). Sixty-one US undergraduates from the Midwest completed 4 h of either massed or distributed practice. While computer game practice improved mental rotation scores in general, women’s gains were significantly greater than men’s, and the most significant gains were accomplished when practice was massed. High mathematical ability, gender, and type of practice significantly predicted improvement scores. The findings suggest that even very minimal computer game practice may improve performance on mental rotation tasks.

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Correspondence to Isabelle D. Cherney.

Additional information

This study was supported in part, by a Psi Chi summer fellowship to Tara Dickey. Preliminary results were presented at the 2004 Posters on the Hill conference sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research and the Great Plains Psychology Conference in Kansas City in 2004 and in Omaha in 2005. I would like to thank Tara Dickey, Judith Flichtbeil, Claire Seiwert, Holly Bourek, Nicholas Basalay, and Ann Kelly for their assistance with data collection.

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Cherney, I.D. Mom, Let Me Play More Computer Games: They Improve My Mental Rotation Skills. Sex Roles 59, 776–786 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-008-9498-z

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Keywords

  • Spatial experience
  • Gender
  • Mental rotation
  • Computer games
  • Visuospatial practice