Memory & Cognition

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 72–82 | Cite as

Timing conditions and the magnitude of gender differences on the Mental Rotations Test

  • Daniel VoyerEmail author
  • Marguerite A. Rodgers
  • Peter A. McCormick


In two experiments, we examined the effect of timing conditions on the magnitude of gender differences in performance on the Mental Rotations Test (MRT). In Experiment 1, each of 196 females and 119 males was administered the MRT via a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation in one of five timing conditions (15, 20, 25, 30, and 40 sec). The participants were exposed to each MRT item for the period specified in the assigned timing condition. Experiment 2 was conducted to address flaws found in Experiment 1. Accordingly, each of 105 females and 105 males was individually administered the task in one of three timing conditions (15 sec, 25 sec, or unlimited duration). The results of both experiments showed that the magnitude of gender differences was similar across timing conditions when a conventional scoring method was used. An analysis of guessing behavior generally indicated that men tend to show little effect of timing conditions, whereas women’s propensity to guess increases when they are given more time to respond. In general, the results supported an interpretation of gender differences on the MRT that relies on the joint operation of performance factors and level of spatial ability.


Gender Difference Mental Rotation Performance Factor Correct Choice Spatial Ability 
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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Voyer
    • 3
    Email author
  • Marguerite A. Rodgers
    • 1
  • Peter A. McCormick
    • 2
  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.St. Francis Xavier UniversityAntigonishCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada

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