Response time differences between men and women during hand mental rotation

Hideki Mochizuki, Kotaro Takeda, Yutaka Sato, Izumi Nagashima, Yusuke Harada, Nobuaki Shimoda

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8 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored gender differences in correct response rates and response times on a task involving left or right arrow selection and another involving the transformation of mental rotation of the hand. We recruited 15 healthy, right-handed men (age 24.5 ± 6.4) and 15 healthy, right-handed women (age 21.3 ± 4.9). For the tasks, we used pictures of left and right arrows and 32 hand pictures (left and right, palm and back) placed in cons (each at 45 from 0 to 315). Hand and arrow pictures alternated and were shown at random. Participants decided as quickly as possible whether each picture was left or right. To compare the time taken for the transformation of mental rotation of the hand, we subtracted the average arrow response time from that for the left and right hand pictures for each participant. Correct response rates did not differ significantly between men and women or left and right for either arrow or hand pictures. Regardless of gender, the response time was longer for the left arrow picture than right arrow picture. The response time for the hand picture was longest for both men and women for pictures at rotation angles that were most difficult to align with participants’ hands. While there was no difference between men’s responses for left and right hand pictures, the responses of women were longer for left than right hand pictures and also than those of men. These findings suggest that both men and women mainly perform the hand mental rotation task with implicit motor imagery. On the other hand, the gender difference in performance might be explained by the difference in balance with other strategies, such as visual imagery, and by cognitive, neurophysiological, and morphological differences.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0220414
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 01-06-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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