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Title: The Unexamined Influence: An Object’s Perceived Gender on Spatial Reasoning Skills in Girls
Authors: Keune, Anna
Zambrano-Gutiérrez, Julio
Phonethibsavads, Anthony
Peppler, Kylie
Keywords: Learning Sciences
Issue Date: Jun-2021
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences
Citation: Keune, A., Zambrano-Gutiérrez, J., Phonethibsavads, A., & Peppler, K. (2021). The Unexamined Influence: An Object’s Perceived Gender on Spatial Reasoning Skills in Girls. In de Vries, E., Hod, Y., & Ahn, J. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 15th International Conference of the Learning Sciences - ICLS 2021. (pp. 629-632). Bochum, Germany: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: Explanations for gender differences in spatial visualization and mental rotation typically center on lack of experience or cognitive deficits of females. Our research offers an alternative explanation for these differences–one rooted in the materials used for mental rotation tasks, informed by sociocultural approaches and posthumanist perspectives. Combining a gender sorting task and a mental rotation assessment, this study shows that students–regardless of gender–perceive consistent gender differences of everyday objects. Their ability to mentally rotate each object is related to their gender and the objects’ perceived gender. Females perform significantly higher on mental rotation tasks that involve objects that are perceived as feminine, matching scores of males. Yet, the stereotypical mental rotation differences between females and males are seen only on objects perceived as neither feminine nor masculine. The perceived gender of materials included in educational design may shape mental rotation ability.
Appears in Collections:ISLS Annual Meeting 2021

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