Book Definition:

An experiment by Roger Shepard and Jacqueline Metzler. It showed that people can turn things over in their conscious minds. In other words, people have the ability to rotate two objects in their consciousness to decide that they are actually the same object in different positions.

In Your Own Words

  • The ability of your mind to rotate an object while recognizing it is the same from any perspective.
  • The ability of the mind to leave the body and look at an object in another perspective although your head stays still.
  • object permanence

Additional Information:

  • It has been found that boys are better at doing mental rotations than girls. It's largely to do with spatial terms. Boys have a better perception of space and an easier time solving math problems than girls do.
  • The object of the mental rotation experiment is to test your ability to recognize an object, even from a different angle.
  • The greater the angle that an object is rotated the longer it takes for people to identify if it is the same of different.


  • Recognizing that an apple is an apple, and will remain an apple no matter what angle you are looking at it from.
  • Recognizing a person from each view possible.
  • Making the connection that a water bottle is always a water bottle no matter what angle you look at it: front or back, left or right it's still a water bottle.
  • The game Echochrome requires the ability to view the same object from a different perspective.
  • Recognizing your room no matter where the "things" are located, if they're relocated in the room.

Other Resources:

  • (PG. 161 Figure 5.2) Decide whether the two images in each pair show the same object in different positions. When comparing these types of images, it would take a person more time to respond when the difference between the angles of the images is increased.