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ERIC Number: ED307277
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Mar
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Fleeting Nature of Sex Differences in Spatial Ability.
Alderton, David L.
Gender differences were examined on three computer-administered spatial processing tasks: (1) the Intercept task, requiring processing dynamic or moving figures; (2) the mental rotation test, employing rotated asymmetric polygons; and (3) the integrating details test, in which subjects performed a complex visual synthesis. Participants were about 450 junior and senior high school students (over half were female). Across the gender group, performance improved substantially for all three tasks between the first session and a retest 1 month later. Although males had an initial advantage in the dynamic task, females were performing as well as males on two of three item types by the second session and had greatly reduced the difference on the third type. In the mental rotation tasks retest, females gained relatively more speed than males, but were still slower than males. There were no gender differences in speed on the visualization test, but males were more accurate, despite the gains females showed at the second test. Results indicate that practice can have large and durable effects on individual and group performance. The differential pattern of change also supports a multifactor view of spatial ability. Data caution against over-interpreting differences in performance, including gender differences, based on single testing sessions. Intercept task data are tabulated for 198 males and 238 females. Mental rotation task data are tabulated for 213 males and 239 females. Detail interpretation task data are tabulated for 204 males and 228 females. Sample task items are provided. (SLD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A