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Children’s Mental Transformation Task (CMTT)



Description:  This task requires children to choose which shape would be made by moving two separate pieces together. It includes four types of items, all of which tap 2-D mental transformations: 1) horizontal translation, 2) diagonal translation, 3) horizontal rotation, and 4) diagonal rotation. The task shows a sex difference for children from middle SES backgrounds.
Population: 4-7 year olds


Ehrlich, S., Levine, S.C., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2006). The importance of gesture in children’s spatial reasoning. Developmental Psychology, 42, 1259-1268.

Levine, S.C., Huttenlocher, J., Taylor, A. & Langrock, A. (1999). Early Sex Differences in Spatial Skill. Developmental Psychology, 35(4), 940-949. [DOI]

Test Location:
CMTT Answer Key
CMTT Final Key
Item List:

UP-DATE as of April 4, 2016:
A correction was made to CMTT_B_Order1 page 59, CMTT_B_Order2 page 9, CMTT_D_Order1 page 59, and CMTT_D_Order2 page 9.

Task Information and Script:

  • Both the stimulus card (card with the target pieces) and the choice array (card with four whole shapes) were placed on a table in front of the child. The choice array was placed closest to the child, and the stimulus card with the target pieces was placed directly above it. On the first trial, the experimenter gestured to the target pieces and then to the array of four shapes and said, “Look at these pieces. Look at these pictures. If you put the pieces together, they will make one of the pictures. Point to the picture the pieces make.” On subsequent trials, the experimenter said, “Point to the picture the pieces make.” No feedback was given on any item. Pilot testing showed that there was no need to give practice items.
For more information: Please email the Lead Researcher: Susan Levine (Co-PI), University of Chicago: s-levine [at] uchicago [dot] edu