Motion in the mind's eye: Comparing mental and visual rotation

Amy L. Shelton, Holly A. Pippitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Mental rotation is among the most widely studied visuospatial skills in humans. The processes involved in mental rotation have been described as analogous to seeing an object physically rotate. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging of the whole brain and localized motion-sensitive hV5/MT+ to compare brain activation for stimuli when they were mentally or visually rotated. The results provided clear evidence for activation in hV5/MT+ during both mental and visual rotation of figures, with increased activation for larger rotations. Combined with the overall similarities between mental and visual rotation in this study, these results suggest that mental rotation recruits many of the same neural substrates as observing motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-332
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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