Expectations and mental rotation : different effects on gender explored through the (unlikely) case of female superiority in mental rotation rate of large objects
The present study aims to examine the relationship between expectation about performance in a mental rotation task of 3-D geometrical shapes on a small (standard) and large (novel) display and for each sex. In Experiment 1 we explicitly induced expectations about whether participants would perform better on either the large or small displays. Results revealed that women mentally rotate the 3-D shapes faster than men on the large display, but both genders were affected by the expectation variable. Apparently, only females expecting to do better in the large display condition experienced superior performance relative to men. Males appeared affected by expectations toward task difficulty (superior conditions), where they scored lower when expecting a superior condition. Experiment 2 confirmed the effect of display size on gender and female superiority was again observed in the large display condition – however without any explicit manipulation in the experimental design of expectations (for superiority of a display condition over the other).
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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