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Mental rotation training

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With this application you can train or simply test your mental rotation skills.  One of the few skills that supposedly show a real difference between men and women as well as between students of natural sciences and students of the arts. But the ability to improve, especially a poor skill, has been shown.

So try it out, after 10 exercises you will see your results.

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Written by bjornson

September 22nd, 2008 at 8:22 pm

48 Responses to 'Mental rotation training'

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  1. nice tests

    but the “drag n drop” part is annoying an not relevant (i feel) for this test


    5 Oct 08 at 7:05 pm

  2. Thanks for the comment,
    the drag n drop part was initially implemented so you can place an oject closer to the original object to compare them better. I was thinking about substracting the time a test taker needs to relocate the object based on Fitts’s law. But then I would also have to gather information on what kind of pointing device is being used. Maybe I will introduce a different choosing method on the weekend when I have time. Also I will probably implement a Top-List or something of the sort so you can actually compare your results to those of other users.


    6 Oct 08 at 8:19 am

  3. average time 4 :46 first try , can you tell me how much is the average score please ? email me , i must know thanks


    15 Oct 08 at 11:30 pm

  4. p.s on easy


    15 Oct 08 at 11:31 pm

  5. I can read out the log and send you the current average tonight.
    I will include average and best times soon. At the moment I am very busy but am putting this higher on my list of things to do.


    16 Oct 08 at 9:12 am

  6. I was wondering if you have a download-able version of this program. I’m going to be running a mental rotation experiment and need something that I can track scores of multiple users with. Any advice or help would be appreciated, feel free to e-mail me at the posted address.


    25 Oct 08 at 3:25 am

  7. What should i do with the results? Is there any way to compare these results with something?

    It’s absurdly easy, I assumed 3D rotating on the “HARD” level. Apparently the drag-and-drop-action took most of the time!


    5 Nov 08 at 7:53 pm

  8. @WhiteTiger: I just added the average scores, so you can compare your results to all other users’ average results.

    By the way: this is not 3D rotation, only 2D. Using three dimensional blocks would probably make this more challenging. Maybe I get around to programming a new version sometime. If there is anybody out there wanting to create 3D blocks similar to the 2D blocks I am using here and send them to me as Collada files I can import them using Papervision3d and create a new version rather quickly. Anyone?


    5 Nov 08 at 10:45 pm

  9. Dear Mr.Bjornson ,

    My name is Hunter Chen. I am a graduate student in the Industrial Design Department at National Kaohsiung Normal University . I am very interested in mental rotation. I would like to use it for my master’s degree topic. In order to do so, I would like to redraw the Vandenberg Mental Rotation Test for the Chinese research.

    I have tried to find a complete test in English but have been unable to do so . Would you have a copy of the test that you can e-mail me or do you know of where I could obtain a copy?

    Thank you in advance for you patience and assistance.




    24 Nov 08 at 4:43 am

  10. What I discovered during the test is that they all looked the same. I had to use logic to distinguish the differences. I am an artist. If you think large to small as I’ve been trained the details are not significant.


    3 Dec 08 at 3:06 pm

  11. @woodie: I am sorry but I am not sure about what you are trying to tell us. Can you please specify your comment a bit more?


    3 Dec 08 at 4:27 pm

  12. I would suggest a practice session first, as the first one I did I was first reading your instructions, and then I did not notice you should drag it, so it took nearly 50 seconds.

    Also: apparently I don’t rotate the figures, I eliminate the ones it can’t be. For example, there is only one which is kind of cupped, which has a curve in the middle, and no others that resemble it, so you can pick it instantly, without rotation. There is also an L with the serif hanging down instead of up, you notice it immediately among the others. I’m not sure if this is the outcome you wanted.

    Patrick R.

    20 Dec 08 at 8:36 pm

  13. Thanks for this! My first go on the game was on the hard level – I was very slow compared to the average (8.6 seconds – although my first attempt was almost always right), but I’ve always known I find this kind of thing a bit tricky. I’d love to improve; certainly a 3d version would be terrific.

    Finn Ance

    27 Dec 08 at 2:07 pm

  14. Hi, nice website.

    Never understood why women are said to be inferior in terms of spatial capacity. I (f) completed all three tests in 2-2.5 sec less than the average time. :)
    I remember my drafting professor tried to make similar claims… but I never came across any such gender differences.



    21 Jan 09 at 5:19 pm

  15. Hi everyone,

    I am using this test as part of my Psychology dissertation

    Would any body like to help me out and take part in my study?

    Would be greatly!! appreciated
    Email me at if interested


    10 Feb 09 at 7:16 pm

  16. I just scored 00:04:91 on hard without even looking at the pieces. I simply start form the left and drag one after the other until I get success. Faster mouse manipulators might get even better scores. I suggest that the pieces should get reshuffled after each attempt.


    19 Feb 09 at 12:13 pm

  17. @Andreas: Interesting! I had not thought about that possibility. But the average attempts are also recorded, so I guess I should publish seperate scores for the amount of average attempts, therefore showing the top scroes for people that picked the right ones first and did not simply try all.

    Changing the application could be done in at least two ways:
    -Just going to the next task if the pick was wrong and record the right picks
    -Shuffling the pieces after a wrong pick

    Any other ideas or favourites?


    20 Feb 09 at 11:12 am

  18. Test is a interesting. It appears to me that the fast draggers simply eliminated the possiblities rather than actually trying to match the shape.


    24 Feb 09 at 8:45 pm

  19. DearBjornson ,
    I am very intrested in mental rotation because I want to test children`mental rotation ability and I read so many studies about the subject but I can`t find the suitable computerized version to test children , their ages are between (9 to 10 )please if you can help me or do you know where Ican get it please send me e-mail at the posted address . Thanks alot
    PS. I am from Jordan


    1 Mar 09 at 7:15 am

  20. i just took the test on level har, scored 04:22 with average attempts 1.0, this test is not really hard

    but i heard there are differences between humanist and natural scientist, i would like to learn more about that

    ethnology student

    20 Apr 09 at 4:19 pm

  21. Dear Bjornson ,
    I sent an email before two months about how I can get the computerized mental rotation test but no answer until now so please send a reply to contact with you because I am very interested in ” Mental Rotation ” subject . please don`t leave me out


    27 Apr 09 at 6:26 pm

  22. @ Tahani:
    Sorry to say, but I am by no means an expert for mental rotation. All computerized material I have is what you see in this blog entry.
    If you know exactly what you need you can post your ideas here and maybe I will program a new test for younger audiences here as well.


    28 Apr 09 at 9:56 am

  23. Dear Bjornson,
    First of all thank you very much to reply , I need a test like “what you did for adults” it is for children whose ages are between 9 and 10 maybe use pictures with 2 dimensional instead of 3 dimensional like chairs , birds , bears …if you can help me please


    28 Apr 09 at 11:20 pm

  24. hard level
    average attemps: 1.2
    average time 04.84


    14 May 09 at 11:06 pm

  25. I’m doing extremely bad on the medium and hard modes.

    After some thought, it turns out that I’m also counting inverts as rotations.

    I think my spatial reasoning skills are just really really bad.


    11 Jun 09 at 8:52 am

  26. avrg atempts
    1.1 on all three.

    easy mode

    average mode

    Hardcore mode

    aaand i’m a girl~ lol i always beat both the men and woman scores for 3D stuff. :3 spinning things comes naturally, though spatial intelligence is my thing.
    now if you time my scores for rudimentary math computations…..

    Veronica the awesome

    29 Aug 09 at 5:28 am

  27. bu-wha-thats cheating~!!! you can’y just drag any random block!!
    whats the point of testing yourself if you’re gonna jery-rig the thing??
    thats no fun, poo to you.

    Veronica the awesome

    29 Aug 09 at 5:31 am

  28. You wrote earlier that you was thinking of making a 3D application. Will you create one? I’ve looked all over the web for this.


    31 Aug 09 at 6:48 pm

  29. Hey Bjornson….

    I hit the play button before I figured out how it worked. So my first time is 25 seconds, while others are in the 5-6 sec region. I wonder how many others are similarly skewed in the first trial?



    2 Sep 09 at 5:06 pm

  30. Hi Bjornson,

    i am a psychology student working on a mental rotation analysis and found your test here. i have been trying to build my own, but since my programming skills are very litited i couldn’t master it. i was wondering if you would be so kind to maybe send me your mental rotation task so i could make some small changes so i can use it for my analysis. i will not use is publicly and also i will of corse mention your name, saying you actually build the core of this.

    i would be very very happy to hear form you!



    7 Oct 09 at 1:34 am

  31. Hey, it’s a nice test and useful.

    If it is possible, can you upload here more tests about the prefrontal cortex

    here there’s a link about it

    if you do it, it’ll be very useful


    7 Oct 09 at 8:57 pm

  32. Thanks for creating this site … us older Baby Boomers need to stimulate our minds every day … in every way … so we don’t lose our minds.
    Reduced Mental rotation ability appears to be important measure of imminent Alzheimers… and I’m having more difficulty every day “gathering my thoughts”


    13 Oct 09 at 7:31 am

  33. I am curious as to who visits this site to take this test. I would assume it is users who are already interested in such things and probably are strong in mental rotation naturally, unless of course, doing research for cognitive fields. However, if the former, than wouldn’t that skew the ‘average’ test results? I would love to know what the average times would be from the general population and not a specific group. Anyone know?

    Also, what are the differences between ‘artist’ users and ‘natural science’ users? Would this relate to right hemi and left hemi usages? If it helps with any research, I am an artist and scored 2 seconds faster in easy and med, and 1 sec faster in hard. Would love to know who the other users are and what there occupation and/or main activities are (to see if it is rt or left brain activities).

    Would also love to see a 3D version!


    26 Oct 09 at 6:09 am

  34. I sent an email before two months about how I can get the refrence of this test(mental rotation test) but no answer until now so please send a reply to contact with you because I am very interested in ” Mental Rotation ” subject and I need to use it in academic research. please don`t leave me out



    18 Nov 09 at 3:45 am

  35. Dear Bjornson ,

    I sent an email before about the reference of this mental rotation test because I want to use it in academic study so, could you please send the reference to my e-mail if possible, because I am very interested in ” Mental Rotation ” subject . please I’m waiting to hear from you in the near future.

    Best regards,


    18 Nov 09 at 4:53 pm

  36. Dear Abdul, I am sorry to say that there is no reference to this test, there is simply this test.
    Best regards, bjornson


    23 Nov 09 at 4:42 pm

  37. Hmm, pretty easy if you ask me:
    First try on hard, medium and easy:
    Hard: 3.8 secs
    Medium: 2.3 secs
    Easy: 2.2 secs


    6 Jan 10 at 9:08 pm

  38. I Finally added the scores, they come directly from the mysql database. So now you can always see the current results.
    I decided to show results with less than 20 seconds average time only. It seemed that if anyone took longer, it took a lot longer, suggesting, that they stopped in the middle of the test and proceeded at a later point, therefore making the result useless for our statistic.


    19 Mar 10 at 4:28 pm

  39. Would be nice to see what the top scores are not just average, did easy with no errors in 1.53sec average.


    9 May 10 at 11:13 pm

  40. Is there a possibility to get an offline version of this test somewhere, also with more trials?


    14 May 10 at 10:53 am

  41. I am taking the tsa exam for a job at the airport (testing mental rotaion of 2-3 dimensional objects; the ability to compare objects and the similarities and differences between the objects. Any suggestions of a link to help me prepare? Thanks.

    jakie b

    9 Jun 10 at 4:36 am

  42. I found this test intersting because i learned that they more difficult the degree of the angle was the more time it took me to figure it out but the test was different and involved concentration. I took it after a female took it and the i scored higher, so it showed me that males are better at mental rotation.


    15 Jun 10 at 7:51 pm

  43. Good Day,
    I was wondering if you paper versions of the tests asa I would like tro use them during a cold exposure study.
    Thank you for your time

    Mike Taber

    11 Aug 10 at 7:53 pm

  44. Aye right this is rubbish I got an average of 22 seconds I demand this is fixed as I was cheated!!!!


    25 Aug 10 at 12:33 pm

  45. I would suggest removing the left brain right brain background icon where you need to drag the matching pictures into. When I saw the left brain right brain I automatically assumed the test goal is to find mirrored image. This screwed up my first try in the test and confused me for a while. :O

    Changing the background to both left brain or both right brain could help eliminate this visual confusion. :)


    11 Feb 11 at 12:32 am

  46. This test is way too easy, even on hard. You use the same shapes over and over again which stores the shape and makes it much easier but not necessarily testing the right parts you want to test. Plus the right shapes are often in an angle that close to the comparison. Plus, the shapes that are false are too dissimilar making it very easy to spot the right one by just counting blocks.


    5 Jul 11 at 6:38 pm

  47. 0.88s without errors on easy with the condition no program is used to automate the clicking and sliding part. With practice times less than 0.5s possible by someone dedicated enough, but correlation between times less than 1s probably weak compared to iq, due to other factors.


    16 Sep 12 at 1:39 pm

  48. I think this task required more graphical observations in the easy level, but require more logical observations in the hard level.


    25 Feb 13 at 9:05 pm

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