Siblings' sex is linked to mental rotation performance in males but not females.

Frenken, H.; Papageorgiou, K.A.; Tikhomirova, T.; Malykh, S.; Tosto, M.G. and Kovas, Yulia. 2016. Siblings' sex is linked to mental rotation performance in males but not females. Intelligence, 55, pp. 38-43. ISSN 0160-2896 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Research has consistently found sex differences in mental rotation. Twin research has suggested that females with male co-twins perform better than females with female co-twins on mental rotation. Because twins share both pre-natal and post-natal environments, it is not possible to test whether this advantage is due to in-uterine transmission of testosterone from males to females or due to socialisation processes. The present study explored whether the advantage of females with brothers can be observed in non-twin siblings. Participants (N = 1799) were assessed on mental rotation. The observed group differences were overall small: males performed significantly better than females; females with sisters performed similarly to females with brothers; importantly, males with brothers performed significantly better than both female groups. The results suggest that sex differences in mental rotation are driven by the group of males with brothers.

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Pre-publication, final acceted manuscript


Spatial ability; Mental rotation; Sex differences; Socialisation

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1 March 2016Published
16 January 2016Accepted

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Date Deposited:

22 Aug 2017 15:22

Last Modified:

26 Jan 2018 02:26

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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