Skip to main content

Library of Shepard and Metzler-type Mental Rotation Stimuli


Description: This library contains 16 different figures. Each, consistent with Shepard and Metzler’s approach, is composed of 10 cubes. Each figure is rendered in 5 degree steps of rotation from the basic orientation, from 0 to 360 degrees. The same is done for a mirror image of each of these figures. Thus, the basic number of figures in the library is 73 x 16 x 2, for a total of 2336 images. All of the basic images are drawn either in rotations around the vertical axis (as in a pirouetting dancer) or around the horizontal axis (as, in a typical Canadian context, a log spinning in the water in a log rolling contest). Thus, the basic set comprises 2336 x 2 images x 2 (stimuli against a dark or light background) x 2 (stimuli drawn with alternate dark and light cubes or stimuli drawn in wire frame style), for a total of 18688 stimuli. Because of space considerations, the stimuli are drawn in jpg format. We are keeping a bmp backup to make sure that there is one set of stimuli that is not prone to deterioration.


Peters, M. & Battista, C. (2008). Applications of mental rotation figures of the Shepard and Metzler type and description of a mental rotation stimulus library. Brain and Cognition, 66(3), 260-264.

Peters, M., Laeng, B., Latham, K., Jackson, M., Zaiyouna, R. & Richardson, C. (1995). A Redrawn Vandenberg & Kuse Mental Rotations Test: Different Versions and Factors that affect Performance. Brain and Cognition, 28, 39-58.

Peters, M., Manning, J. T. & Reimers, S. (2007). The effects of sex, sexual orientation, and digit ratio (2D:4D) on mental rotation performance. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36(2), 251-260.

Test Location:

If you wish to obtain the library, please e-mail us and we will give you instructions as to how you can download the library.

Email the Lead Researchers:

Michael Peters, University of Guelph, ON, Canada: mpeters [at] uoguelph [dot] ca

Christian Battista, Stanford University School of Medicine: cbattist [at] stanford [dot] edu