Mental rotation gears up by age 5 for both boys and girls

Math-related visualization skill emerges rapidly in preschool years

By Bruce Bower, 11:46 AM September 25, 2013

Cartoon ghosts have scared up evidence that the ability to visualize objects in one’s mind materializes between ages 3 and 5.

When asked to pick which of two mirror-image ghost cutouts or drawings fit in a ghost-shaped hole, few 3-year-olds, a substantial minority of 4-year-olds and most 5-year-olds regularly succeeded, say psychologist Andrea Frick of the University of Bern, Switzerland, and her colleagues. Girls performed as well as boys on the task, suggesting that men’s much-studied advant...

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