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.
My spatial imagination is limited by the level of 1st test. My next answers are 3 and 3 , but this is a total guess after 10 seconds .
I got all correct answers and my times were 15, 25, and 45 seconds.
I used a similar method to the above responses, relying on counting squares and approximating angles to choose my answers. For me, the most difficult problem was #2, and the easiest #1. Based on my experience and the other comments, it seems that aphants solve these problems systematically wheras nonaphants do it intuitively.
All correct, but didn’t take times, for what it was close to 5s for the first close to 15s the second and little less than 25s for the third, in 3º picking the 2 and 3 was quick discarding the 4 was what took me longer.
In college, about 12 years ago, I never had any problems with spatial tasks, I think I was even above average, we had to "imagine" functions rotating to calculate volumes, projecting 3D objects in 2D and vice versa, I’m very good fitting real objects in tight spaces; I can pack a trunk, closet or storage unit perfectly, without wasted spaces. That’s why for 35 years (I’m just realizing all this) I thought that "visualizing" was figurative speech. I usually don’t use "strategies" I somehow know. Is like my brain in the background do the "visualizing" and just share with me the answer.
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