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Interrupting mental rotation : what we know when

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Nathan Johnson (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/

Abstract: In a handedness decision task participants are presented with pairs of stimuli in varying orientations and their task is to decide if the stimuli are the same or mirror images. It is commonly assumed that participants must imagine one stimulus rotate to the same orientation as the other stimulus to make a handedness decision (i.e., “mental rotation”). To examine whether “mental rotation” is necessary to determine the handedness of misoriented objects, I developed a dualtask procedure in which a handedness decision task is randomly interrupted with a side decision task. This interruption occurs when one of the two stimuli is shaded in, whereupon the participant is to abandon the handedness decision task and respond with the hand that is on the same side as the shaded in stimulus. If participants know the handedness of the stimulus before they are interrupted by the side decision task, reaction times will be faster on trials in which the responses to the two tasks are congruent (i.e., with the same hand) than the trials in which the responses to two tasks are incongruent. If participants do not know the handedness of the stimulus before they are interrupted by the side decision task, reaction times on all trials will be equal. The data show that participants knew the handedness of the misoriented stimulus before using “mental rotation” when they had experience with that particular stimulus. Furthermore, this knowledge in unrelated to angle.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Imagery (Psychology), Mental rotation
Subjects
Imagery (Psychology)
Mental rotation