Gymnasts and orienteers display better mental rotation performance than nonathletes

Schmidt, Mirko; Egger, Fabienne; Kieliger, Mario; Rubeli, Benjamin; Schüler, Julia (2016). Gymnasts and orienteers display better mental rotation performance than nonathletes. Journal of individual differences, 37(1), pp. 1-7. Hogrefe & Huber 10.1027/1614-0001/a000180

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The aim of this study was to examine whether athletes differ from nonathletes regarding their mental rotation performance. Furthermore, it investigated whether athletes doing sports requiring distinguishable levels of mental rotation (orienteering, gymnastics, running), as well as varying with respect to having an egocentric (gymnastics) or an allocentric perspective (orienteering), differ from each other. Therefore, the Mental Rotations Test (MRT) was carried out with 20 orienteers, 20 gymnasts, 20 runners, and 20 nonathletes. The results indicate large differences in mental rotation performance, with those actively doing sports outperforming the nonathletes. Analyses for the specific groups showed that orienteers and gymnasts differed from the nonathletes, whereas endurance runners did not. Contrary to expectations, the mental rotation performance of gymnasts did not differ from that of orienteers. This study also revealed gender differences in favor of men. Implications regarding a differentiated view of the connection between specific sports and mental rotation performance are discussed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Psychology and Research Methods

UniBE Contributor:

Schmidt, Mirko, Egger, Fabienne, Kieliger, Mario, Rubeli, Benjamin Michael, Schüler, Julia


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Hogrefe & Huber




Mirko Schmidt

Date Deposited:

11 Apr 2016 10:48

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:27

Publisher DOI:





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