Women’s Mental Rotation Abilities as a Function of Priming


This study examined how verbal priming of success or failure words influenced the Mental Rotation (MR) performance of women under stereotype threat. Women athletes and non-athletes (N = 67) completed several MR tasks after doing a word scramble that included positive or negative sports terms. The MR performance of athletes was diminished in relation to that of non-athletes when primed with negative sports-related actions. Negative primes also enhanced the performance of non-athletes in relation to their peers who had positive primes, but there were no differences in MR performances under positive priming. Thus, those who identified with a group experienced threat that negatively impacted performance, but non-athletes were unlikely to have been affected by evaluative performance concerns.

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Ryan, L. , Brownlow, S. & Patterson, B. (2015). Women’s Mental Rotation Abilities as a Function of Priming. Psychology, 6, 217-222. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.63021.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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