What is it about?

Measurement of mental rotation presents a serious challenge to cognitive researchers owing to the lack of a single comprehensive measure that can be applied across the developing age groups. Objective of the present study was to develop and validate a new measure of mental rotationfor preadolescent and adolescent age groups. Items were conceptualized and constructed based on existing theories. Study I checked the suitability of these items among preadolescent and adolescent age groups. After revisions, Study II was done to evaluate the item properties using item response theory. Subsequently done confirmatory factor analysis provided evidence for the construct validity of the new measure. Finally, Study III was done to develop the age wise and gender wise norms for preadolescent and adolescent age groups. The newly developed measure was found to have sufficient reliability and validity and hence can be widely applied for measuring mental rotation of preadolescents and adolescents.

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Why is it important?

The newly developed test of mental rotation is to a large extent unique in its’ own way. First, the test consists of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional items in a common frame, thus allowing the assessment of both types of processes in a similar fashion. This method ensures that the difference in performance on these two different types of items is a pure measure of the variation in cognitive processes involved in two-dimensional and three-dimensional mental rotation of objects. Second, the newly developed test allows for the assessment of mental rotation across a wide age range i.e. 7– to 16-years of age. This has a huge importance in the fields of cognitive development and spatial cognition mainly because the development of the ability could be compared across the different age period using the same measure. Moreover, the test has sufficient reliability and validity estimates, providing evidence for its’ standardization. We also established the age and gender norms for the test as also tested its’ applicability in a separate sample. Second, study of the development of mental rotation across the preadolescent and adolescent years makes it the first one in the spatial cognition literature to do a systematic study on the development of this ability across the entire childhood and adolescent years. Previous studies on mental rotation explored the ability either among infants (Quinn & Liben, 2008; Moore & Johnson, 2008) or in the middle childhood (Hawes, LeFevre, Xu & Bruce, 2015). Thus, this study is an important contribution in the literature of spatial cognition.


I had put a lot of effort while doing this work and it actually gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about Psychometry. This article not only highlights the advanced methods in developing a spatial ability test but also is an important contribution in this field. I hope the readers find it interesting to read and are able to use and apply the test in their own research works.

Adamas University

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This page is a summary of: Development and Validation of a New Measure of Mental Rotation for Preadolescent and Adolescent Groups, Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, June 2021, Springer Publishing Company, DOI: 10.1891/jcep-d-20-00014.
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