Limits...
Sex differences in mental rotation and how they add to the understanding of autism.

Zapf AC, Glindemann LA, Vogeley K, Falter CM - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: The most consistent cognitive sex differences have been found in the visuo-spatial domain, using Mental Rotation (MR) tasks.Results showed a male advantage in rotational aspects of the MR task, which correlated with IPT results.These results suggest that the differences in MR performance due to ASD are different from sex-related differences in TD persons, in other words, ASD is not a simple and continuous extension of the male cognitive profile into the psychopathological range as the extreme male brain hypothesis (EMB) of ASD would suggest.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Clinical and Developmental Neuropsychology, University of Groningen, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, 9712 TS, Groningen, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
The most consistent cognitive sex differences have been found in the visuo-spatial domain, using Mental Rotation (MR) tasks. Such sex differences have been suggested to bear implications on our understanding of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, it is still debated how the sex difference in MR performance relates to differences between individuals with ASD compared to typically developed control persons (TD). To provide a detailed exploration of sex differences in MR performance, we studied rotational (indicated by slopes) and non-rotational aspects (indicated by intercepts) of the MR task in TD individuals (total N = 50). Second-to-fourth digit length ratios (2D:4D) were measured to investigate the associations between prenatal testosterone and performance on MR tasks. Handedness was assessed by the use of the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory in order to examine the relation between handedness and MR performance. In addition, we investigated the relation of spatial to systemising abilities, both of which have been associated with sex differences and with ASD, employing the Intuitive Physics Test (IPT). Results showed a male advantage in rotational aspects of the MR task, which correlated with IPT results. These findings are in contrast to the MR performance of individuals with ASD who have been shown to outperform TD persons in the non-rotational aspects of the MR task. These results suggest that the differences in MR performance due to ASD are different from sex-related differences in TD persons, in other words, ASD is not a simple and continuous extension of the male cognitive profile into the psychopathological range as the extreme male brain hypothesis (EMB) of ASD would suggest.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

MR accuracy (in percentage), reaction times (in ms) and inverse efficiency scores (RT / accuracy) separately for same and different trials for female (grey triangles) and male (black squares) participants.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4401579&req=5

pone.0124628.g001: MR accuracy (in percentage), reaction times (in ms) and inverse efficiency scores (RT / accuracy) separately for same and different trials for female (grey triangles) and male (black squares) participants.

Mentions: Mann-Whitney U-tests showed that ACC slopes were significantly shallower for male participants than for female participants for same trials, U(51) = 191.5, p = .012, r = -.35 (see Table 2), with a similar trend for different trials, U(51) = 224, p = .056, r = -.27, indicating that for greater angles of rotation males performed better on the task than females (see Fig 1). Concerning the non-rotational aspects of the MR (i.e. ACC intercepts) no significant differences between male and female performance were found, despite of a trend for different trials, U(51) = 229.5, p = .072, r = -.25.


Sex differences in mental rotation and how they add to the understanding of autism.

Zapf AC, Glindemann LA, Vogeley K, Falter CM - PLoS ONE (2015)

MR accuracy (in percentage), reaction times (in ms) and inverse efficiency scores (RT / accuracy) separately for same and different trials for female (grey triangles) and male (black squares) participants.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4401579&req=5

pone.0124628.g001: MR accuracy (in percentage), reaction times (in ms) and inverse efficiency scores (RT / accuracy) separately for same and different trials for female (grey triangles) and male (black squares) participants.
Mentions: Mann-Whitney U-tests showed that ACC slopes were significantly shallower for male participants than for female participants for same trials, U(51) = 191.5, p = .012, r = -.35 (see Table 2), with a similar trend for different trials, U(51) = 224, p = .056, r = -.27, indicating that for greater angles of rotation males performed better on the task than females (see Fig 1). Concerning the non-rotational aspects of the MR (i.e. ACC intercepts) no significant differences between male and female performance were found, despite of a trend for different trials, U(51) = 229.5, p = .072, r = -.25.

Bottom Line: The most consistent cognitive sex differences have been found in the visuo-spatial domain, using Mental Rotation (MR) tasks.Results showed a male advantage in rotational aspects of the MR task, which correlated with IPT results.These results suggest that the differences in MR performance due to ASD are different from sex-related differences in TD persons, in other words, ASD is not a simple and continuous extension of the male cognitive profile into the psychopathological range as the extreme male brain hypothesis (EMB) of ASD would suggest.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Clinical and Developmental Neuropsychology, University of Groningen, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, 9712 TS, Groningen, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
The most consistent cognitive sex differences have been found in the visuo-spatial domain, using Mental Rotation (MR) tasks. Such sex differences have been suggested to bear implications on our understanding of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, it is still debated how the sex difference in MR performance relates to differences between individuals with ASD compared to typically developed control persons (TD). To provide a detailed exploration of sex differences in MR performance, we studied rotational (indicated by slopes) and non-rotational aspects (indicated by intercepts) of the MR task in TD individuals (total N = 50). Second-to-fourth digit length ratios (2D:4D) were measured to investigate the associations between prenatal testosterone and performance on MR tasks. Handedness was assessed by the use of the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory in order to examine the relation between handedness and MR performance. In addition, we investigated the relation of spatial to systemising abilities, both of which have been associated with sex differences and with ASD, employing the Intuitive Physics Test (IPT). Results showed a male advantage in rotational aspects of the MR task, which correlated with IPT results. These findings are in contrast to the MR performance of individuals with ASD who have been shown to outperform TD persons in the non-rotational aspects of the MR task. These results suggest that the differences in MR performance due to ASD are different from sex-related differences in TD persons, in other words, ASD is not a simple and continuous extension of the male cognitive profile into the psychopathological range as the extreme male brain hypothesis (EMB) of ASD would suggest.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus