M. B. Casey, R. Nuttall, E. Pezaris, and C. P. Benbow,The influence of spatial ability on gender differences in mathematics college entrance test scores across diverse samples
The relationship between mental rotation ability and gender differences in Scholastic Aptitude Test - Math (SAT-M) across diverse samples was investigated. Talented preadolescents, college students, and high- and low-ability college-bound youths, totaling 760, were administered the Vandenberg Mental Rotation Test. Gender comparisons showed male outperforming female students in both mental rotation and SAT-M for all 3 high-ability groups but not for the low-ability group. For all female samples, mental rotation predicted math aptitude even when SAT - Verbal was entered first into the regression. For male samples, the relationship varied as a function of sample. When mental rotation ability was statistically adjusted for, the significant gender difference in SAT-M was eliminated for the college sample and the high-ability college-bound students. This suggests that spatial ability may be responsible in part for mediating gender differences in math aptitude among these groups
COPYRIGHT American Psychological Association Inc. 1995
L. Friedman,The space factor in mathematics: gender differences
A meta-analysis of the relationship of spatial and mathematical skills reveals no significant correlation between these two but correlations between verbal and mathematical skills are stronger. The correlations between females and math-space correlations are higher in selected samples and the relationship becomes much more apparent with greater selectivity. Female students who are attending college or aiming for higher studies possess greater spatial and mathematical skills than males. The study is based on journal articles and dissertation studies on math-spatial relationship that appeared between 1950 and 1990 and which dealt with test correlations
Goldstein, Haldane, and
Mitchell , Sex differences in visual-spatial ability
The authors show that sex
differences on the mental rotations test that were present under
strictly timed conditions could be removed by giving the test under
un-timed conditions. They questioned whether the test was actually
measuring "ability" or if it might be reflecting speed instead.
P. Jansen, Single-Sex School Girls Outperform Girls Attending a Co-Educative School in Mental Rotation Accuracy
From the paper: Do girls attending a single-sex school outperform their same-sex counterparts attending co-educative schools when solving a mental rotation task known to produce substantial gender differences favoring males? In total, 252German pupils (126 8th/12th graders each) attending single-sex (84 girls) or co-educative (84 boys and girls each) high-schools in North-Rhine Westphalia (west Germany) participated. All pupils completed the
“Mental Rotations Test” (MRT). We found that in grade 12 girls attending a single-sex school outperformed their same-sex counterparts attending co-educational schools. In grade eight no differences between both groups were observed. As expected, the well known gender difference between 12th grade boys and co-educative girls had been found. Expectations as well as possible consequences are discussed.
S. Neuburger, V. Ruthsatz, P. Jansen, and C. Quaiser-Pohl, Can girls think spatially? Influence of implicit gender stereotype activation and rotational axis on fourth graders' mental-rotation ability
From the paper: Mental-rotation tasks usually induce large gender differences in favor of males. The influence of task features and stereotype activation on the mental-rotation performance of elementary-school children has rarely been investigated. This study examined the performance of 272 fourth-grade boys and girls in a psychometric mental-rotation task varying implicit gender-stereotype activation (threatening vs. non-threatening task framing) and rotational axis (picture-plane vs. in-depth rotations). Children’s gender stereotypes were assessed by a questionnaire. Both genders showed a male stereotype for mental rotation. Implicit gender stereotype activation influenced the gender difference only in picture-plane mental-rotation tasks. Boys outperformed girls in the threatening condition, but not in the non-threatening condition, here. However, in-depth rotation tasks induced a significant male advantage in both the threatening and the non-threatening condition. Findings suggest that a task framing relating mental rotation to arts induces a stereotype-lift effect and that the rotational axis moderates the effect of implicit gender-stereotype activation.
S. Neuburger, V. Ruthsatz, P. Jansen, M. Heil and C. Quaiser-Pohl, Can stories reduce female underachievement? Effects of a fictional role-model on spatial test performance, gender stereotypes and self-concept of ability
From the paper: Previous research has demonstrated that both real-world and fictional role models can influence gender stereotypes, performance, and self-concept in adults and children. The current study investigated such modeling processes in the domain of spatial skills by examining how fourth-grade boys and girls respond to a spatially skilled fictional role model, who was either male or female. The study had an experimental pre-post design, in which 263 children were examined in three intervention groups (female role model, male role model, no role model). Results showed that model acceptance and model gender ratings were more strongly influenced by the model’s sex than by her or his male-stereotyped spatial skills. Model acceptance differed between boys and girls only for the female model, who was accepted to a greater degree by girls, while the male model was accepted to the same degree by boys and girls. Furthermore, there was a gender-specific effect of the stories on girls’ general-esteem, which slightly increased in the female-model group and slightly decreased in the male-model group and the control group. However, the hypothesized gender-specific effects of the story interventions were not found with regard to gender stereotypes, spatial performance, and spatial self-concept; instead, there was an intervention-independent decrease in girls’ gender stereotypes and spatial self-concept. These results are discussed with regard to the influence of spatial experience on the gender effect in spatial performance, the effectiveness of fictional versus real-world models, and the problem of upward comparison with highly skilled role models.
C. Quaiser-Pohl, S. Neuburger, M. Heil, P. Jansen, and A. Schmelzer, Is the Male Advantage in Mental-Rotation Performance Task Independent? On the Usability of Chronometric Tests and Paper-and-Pencil Test in Children
From the article: This article presents a reanalysis of the data of 862 second and fourth graders collected in two previous studies, focusing on the influence of method (psychometric vs. chronometric) and stimulus type on the gender difference in mental-rotation accuracy. The children had to solve mental-rotation tasks with animal pictures, letters, or cube figures, either in a chronometric condition (computerized) or in a psychometric condition (paper-and-pencil). Results show a slight male advantage in mental-rotation accuracy, which is neither influenced by method nor by stimulus type. However, mental-rotation accuracy differed between the stimulus types, with the highest accuracy in animal pictures and the lowest accuracy in cube figures, and between age groups, with better performance in fourth graders than in second graders in both conditions. Results show that psychometric and chronometric mental-rotation tests with all the stimulus types are more or less similarly usable with children of that age.