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Sex differences in egocentric spatial ability and the effects of priming

Georgegiou, Georgina (2011) Sex differences in egocentric spatial ability and the effects of priming. University of West London.

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Abstract

It is widely accepted that there are gender differences within visual-spatial abilities. The gender difference debate regarding social and biological factors has been ongoing. The aim of this study was to investigate the controversy surrounding gender differences within spatial ability. Generally there is a perception that men tend to perform better than women on several spatial tasks, particularly tests involving mentally rotating an image. Women tend to perform better than men in tasks that require object location. The foremost objective of the present study was to investigate whether priming half of the participants to the opposite perceptions would diminish the effect of gender. Forty University students (20 males, 20 females equal numbers in each group) participated in an experiment that comprised two computerized spatial recognition tasks that were presented through Super Lab. Participants completed a 20 item mental rotation and object location task, which measured correct responses and reaction times. Participants were treated in accordance to the ethical code of conduct. The results revealed that priming improved the performance of females in terms to reaction time and accuracy in the mental rotation task. Without priming female performance was poorer. Males had the greatest performance rate overall. Priming was less effective for males and females in the object location task. This research has shown that performance expectations can be positively influenced by priming.

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