Two studies were designed to explore the role of performance factors as sources of the frequently noted higher male scores on visual-spatial ability tests. Waber, D. Sex differences in spatial ability and spatial activities. Cognitive gender differences are disappearing. The MRT was administered under standard, timed conditions and under untimed conditions.
In the first study, the mental rotations test MRT was administered to male and female college students of equally high quantitative ability based on SAT math scores. Sex differences in spatial ability and spatial activities. UI researchers found that a thicker cortex in the parietal lobe in women is associated with poorer mental rotation ability, and in a new structural discovery, that the surface area of the parietal lobe is increased in men, compared to women. The strategy is inefficient but it may be the approach they need to take," said Nopoulos, who also is a psychiatrist with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.