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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

June 2010, Vol. 22, No. 6, Pages 1244-1250
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.2009.21236)
© 2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Preschoolers' Mental Rotation: Sex Differences in Hemispheric Asymmetry
Article PDF (146.69 KB)

Mental rotation performance has been found to produce one of the largest sex differences in cognition accompanied by sex differences in functional cerebral asymmetry. Although sex differences in mental rotation performance can be reliably demonstrated as early as age 5 years old, that is, long before puberty, no data exist as to whether preschooler's mental rotation performance is accompanied by sex differences in functional cerebral asymmetry. Based on the electrophysiological brain correlates of mental rotation, we observed a bilateral parietal brain activity for preschool boys whereas the preschool girls' brain activity was clearly lateralized toward the left hemisphere if and only if mental rotation was needed to solve the task. Thus, sex differences in functional cerebral asymmetry during mental rotation do not require hormonal changes that occur during puberty.