Saturday, June 09, 2018

Mental rotation and fluid intelligence: A brain potential analysis

File under Gv and Gf

Mental rotation and fluid intelligence: A brain potential analysis
Intelligence 69 (2018) 146–157. Article link.

Vincenzo Varrialea, Maurits W. van der Molenb, Vilfredo De Pascalis


The current study examined the relation between mental rotation and fluid intelligence using performance measures augmented with brain potential indices. Participants took a Raven's Progressive Matrices Test and performed on a mental rotation task presenting upright and rotated letter stimuli (60°, 120° or 180°) in normal and mirror image requiring a response execution or inhibition depending on instructions. The performance results showed that the linear slope relating performance accuracy, but not speed, to the angular rotation of the stimuli was related to individual differences in fluid intelligence. For upright stimuli, P3 amplitude recorded at frontal and central areas was positively associated with fluid intelligence scores. The mental rotation process was related to a negative shift of the brain potential recorded over the parietal cortex. The linear function relating the amplitude of the rotation-related negativity to rotation angle was associated with fluid intelligence. The slope was more pronounced for high- relative to low-ability participants suggesting that the former flexibly adjust their expenditure of mental effort to the mental rotation demands while the latter ones are less proficient in doing so.

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