The effect of three-dimensional imaging of well-known objects on time and accuracy of mental rotation
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Submission date: 2014-03-25
Final revision date: 2014-04-28
Acceptance date: 2014-04-28
Online publication date: 2014-07-02
Publication date: 2014-07-02
Health Psychology Report 2014;2(2):90-98
The purpose of this study was to verify hypotheses concerning the effect of three-dimensional imaging and the canonicity of objects presented in the original position on the reaction time (RT) and the accuracy (A) of mental rotation task (MRT) execution. The classical paradigm of MRT, developed by Shepard and Metzler (1971), was used in the experiment.

Participants and procedure
One hundred fifty-eight undergraduate students (88 female and 70 male), aged 18-30 years, participated in the experiment. All participants had normal vision or corrected vision, and reported no stereo blindness. The sequential version of the MRT was used in the experiment. Participants answered whether the object observed in the second position was only rotated or both rotated and mirror-reversed, in comparison to its original position. The answer (accuracy) and its latency (RT) were recorded.

As predicted by the mental rotation model, both the “U”-shaped A-MRT distribution and the inverted “U”-shaped RT-MRT distribution were found, due to the angular disparity. For the RT-MRT, this effect was more pronounced when the objects were displayed stereoscopically than in a plane, and when the objects were presented in the original position from the canonical orientation rather than an unusual point of view. On the other hand, in the case of the A-MRT, an effect of the orientation of objects presented in the original position on strengthening the relationship between accuracy and angular disparity was found.

The results indicated that the interactions between the presentation of the objects in the mental rotation task (stereoscopically vs. in a plane) and the orientation of the object in its original position (canonically vs. unusual) are more complicated than would appear from predictions of classical theories of mental rotation. The results of this study are discussed in relation to the theories of recognition and categorization.
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