Brain lateralization as a predictor of sex differences in performance on spatial tasks

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dc.contributor Boles, David B.
dc.contributor McDermott, Adam T.
dc.contributor.advisor Roskos-Ewoldsen, Beverly Steele, Sara 2017-03-01T17:08:41Z 2017-03-01T17:08:41Z 2014
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0001577
dc.identifier.other Steele_alatus_0004M_12006
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract Sex differences in spatial cognition are considered among the largest sex differences in all cognitive ability (Coluccia & Louse, 2004). One relatively new approach to explain these differences is the lateralization of function hypothesis. The general basis of this approach is that the more lateralized the brain is while completing a task, the more efficient the processing. Research suggests that male brains tend to use the right hemisphere more than the left hemisphere (i.e., are more lateralized) for spatial tasks while women's brains use both the left and right hemispheres (i.e., are more symmetrical) (Rilea, 2008). This study attempted to address the claims that laterality could be a factor in the male advantage in certain spatial tasks. The main objective of the present study addressed the generalizability of the lateralization of function hypothesis to other tasks. Another goal of this project was to collect data for a new test--the Test of Visuospatial Construction (TVSC)--in a typical adult sample. Participants completed a variety of tasks known to recruit one hemisphere more than the other (i.e., were lateralized to the right or left hemispheres) as well as other typical spatial tasks (e.g., mental rotation). The performance (i.e., proportion correct and reaction times) on the experimental tasks (i.e., mental rotation and spatial visualization) were correlated with performance on the left- and right-hemisphere lateralized tasks. We found that the right hemisphere tasks correlated with the mental rotation task more strongly with men than women. Additionally, it was found that more right hemisphere lateralization predicted better performance on right hemisphere tasks. Therefore, the results of this study provide support for the notion that brain organization might be a factor for the male advantage in certain spatial tasks.
dc.format.extent 66 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other Psychology
dc.title Brain lateralization as a predictor of sex differences in performance on spatial tasks
dc.type thesis
dc.type text University of Alabama. Dept. of Psychology Psychology The University of Alabama master's M.A.

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