Mental Rotation (MR) is a technique leading researchers studying aphantasia have used to better understand how the visual processing systems differ in the brain of an aphantasic. For many years, it was believed that you needed mental imagery in order to complete such tasks.
According to Zeman’s 2010 study, patient MX (who developed aphantasia after undergoing surgery) was still able to perform perfectly on mental rotation tasks despite his inability to create mental images of the objects in his mind’s eye.
It was also discovered that some people with aphantasia actually perform better on MR tasks than others. The findings have puzzled many scientists.
How do you perform on MR tasks? What alternative strategies do you use to solve them? Complete some MR tasks here. Remember to share your answers, time to complete and any new insights here!
Here are my times and answers for the MR test:
MR Test 1: #1, about 17.63 seconds
MR Test 2: #3, about 30.40 seconds
MR Test 3: 35 and 1.09.74 minutes
I double checked my answers and got number one right, and half of number two right. However, I got all of number three wrong.
When I do mental rotation puzzles, half the time it’s an educated guess and a gut feeling for what feels correct. However, if the object is a relatively simple object, like the 2D first image, I can ‘feel’ the image rotating to compare it. Further, for the second test, usually what I do is try to compare one part of the object to the others and see how the other part of the object would look? Having a benchmark to compare makes these a little easier and a bit faster for me to complete, but not always. I didn’t think of having two answers for one question, so that didn’t cross my mind.
The folds test was the hardest for me. It took me the longest to complete, and I didn’t get it right. I definitely can’t translate colours well to a ‘feel’ system, and ended up relying on deductive reasoning and an educated guess.
1 – correct 5 seconds
2 – got 1 missed 3 – 40 seconds
3 – correct – 25 seconds
To get the answers, i must go visually back and forth between the objects to determine the shape and colour relationships between the objects and the angles as they relate to each other within the object itself, in the case of the blocks it was also important to count the number of blocks within each section of the shape. I found this the most difficult to complete. Adding colour made #3 easier as it added a reference point for comparison.
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