Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Jennifer A. Stevens
Laurie J. Wolf
Pamela S. Hunt
Considered the hallmark for research on mental rotation, Shepard and Metzler's (1971) experiment constructed the foundation for the investigation into cognitive processes guiding rotational movement of objects in a space. Their data showed that behavioral reaction time increases as a monotonic function of angular disparity, indicating that participants, upon viewing a spatially-altered object, mentally rotate a comparison figure in order to discriminate for the purposes of matching. Later research conducted on rotation of human body parts (i.e. hands) indicates that this particular motor rotation requires the influence of egocentric proprioceptive (i.e fine muscle movement) information (Parsons, 1995) Based on a study conducted by Thayer and Johnson (2006) to investigate the cerebral structures involved in mental rotation, the current study utilized ERP technology to measure the cortical activation between a hand barrier and a hand non-barrier group. Thirty undergraduate participants were randomly assigned equally to the two above-mentioned groups and given a right versus left hand discrimination task. Behavioral results indicate an increase in reaction time with angular departure from conical orientation, while the ERP data reveal significant late negative complex (LNC) and N1 activation increases for the occipital and parietal cortices in the barrier compared to the non-barrier group. This finding suggests that physical barriers inhibiting motoric cueing can significantly modulate cortical activity associated with the performance of a biomechanical - possible anatomical movement - rotation task.
Lupo, Andrew M., "Mental Rotation and its Relationship with Motoric Accessibility: An ERP study assessing the effects of a physical barrier on spatial discrimination." (2008). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 850.
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