Skip to main content


Submit a resource or request more information on the Contact Us page or to

Force & Motion

Hedgehog Game

This is a computerized assessment of conceptions about force and motion. The forces are represented as cartoon hedgehogs. A range of difficulty is presented from single force problems, through slightly complex two-force problems (i.e., both forces in the same direction), and up to complex problems (i.e., the forces arrayed at 180° and 90° to each other). The first half of the test requires prediction (i.e., shown two forces, determining where a ball will end up after they have both acted upon it) and the second half requires inference (i.e., given a goal and one force, determining where a second force should be places so as to reach the goal). Forces vary in both size and timing. Answer choices were selected so that patterns of responses indicate different conceptions.

Population: 5.5 – 6.5 years & 18+

Test Location:
Please, email Justin Harris: jharris [at] mos [dot] org

Mental Bending

Non-Rigid Bending Test

Participants to visualize a continuous non-rigid transformation applied to an array of objects by asking simple spatial questions about the position of two forms on a bent transparent sheet of plastic (see Figure–forthcoming). Participants judge the relative position of the forms when the sheet was unbent.


♦ Atit, K., Shipley, T. F., & Tikoff, B. (2013). Twisting space: Are rigid and non-rigid mental transformations separate spatial skills? Cognitive Processing, 14(2), 163-173.

Population: Adults

Test Location:
Open .zip File  Stimuli (.zip file)

Mental (De)Fragmentation

Mental Brittle Transformation Test

Test assesses ability to mentally visualize brittle transformations. These are transformations of a spatial array where local regions in the array undergo rigid transformation (rotation or translation), but these regions move independently of each other, so over the entire array, distances among all points are not preserved. The mental brittle transformation test assesses the ability to visualize putting the broken pieces back together.


♦ Resnick, I., & Shipley, T. F. (2013). Breaking new ground in the mind: An initial study of mental brittle transformation and mental rigid rotation in science experts. Cognitive processing, 14(2), 143-152.

Population: Adults

Test Location:
Open .pdf File  9 Item Test
Open .zip File  Mental Brittle Transformation Stimuli (.zip file)
Open Word document  Mental Brittle Transformation Instructions

Metal Folding

Mental Folding Test for Children (MFTC)

This multiple choice tests requires children to mentally fold 2D shapes. The shapes are different colors on each side to help children distinguish front from back. This tests uses a consistent set of foils across all items so that individual strategies can be determined and poor performance can be distinguished from guessing.


♦ Harris, J., Hirsh-Pasek, K. & Newcombe, N. S. (2013). A new twist on studying the development of dynamic spatial transformations: Mental paper folding in young children. Mind, Brain and Education, 7, 49-55.

Population: 4-7 year olds

Test Location:
Open .pdf File  Stimuli
Open .pdf File  Directions and Score Sheet

Mental Slicing & Penetrative Thinking

Cross-sectioning for Children

This measure uses 3D objects sliced with a cardboard “plane” (or realistic photos). Children are asked to select which of four 2D options would result from cutting the 3D figure at the plane and looking at the “flat inside”.


♦ Ping, R. M., Young, C. J., Ratliff, K. R., Schiffman, J., & Levine, S. C. (September, 2012). Tracing the developmental trajectory of cross-sectioning ability in three- to nine-year-old children. Paper presented at the 5th Annual Meeting of the International Conference on Spatial Cognition, Rome, Italy.

♦ Ratliff, K. R., McGinnis, C. R., & Levine, S. C. (August, 2010). The development and assessment of cross-sectioning ability in young children. Paper presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Portland, Oregon.

Population: 5-9 year olds

Test Location:
Please, email Chris Young: cjyoung [at] uchicago [dot] edu

Mental Slicing & Penetrative Thinking

Crystal Slicing Test

This multiple choice test requires students to select the cross-sectional shape produced by a pictured cut through a crystalline structure.


♦ Ormand, C. J., Shipley, T. F., Tikoff, B., Manduca, C. A., Dutrow, B., Goodwin, L., Hickson, T., Atit, K., Gagnier, K. M., & Resnick, I. (2013). Improving Spatial Reasoning Skills in the Undergraduate Geoscience Classroom Through Interventions Based on Cognitive Science Research. Talk presented at the AAPG Hedberg Conference on 3D Structural Geologic Interpretation.

Population: Adults

Test Location:
Please, email Carol Ormand: cormand [at] carleton [dot] edu

Mental Slicing & Penetrative Thinking

Geologic Block Cross- Sectioning Test

This test is multiple choice test requires students to select the cross-section produced by a pictured cut through a Geologic Block Diagram (see figure below). Note this is different from the children’s cross-sectioning test and the crystal slicing test in the sense that students don’t select the appropriate shape, but rather have to select the configuration of layers that would be visible in the cross-section.


♦ Ormand, C. J., Shipley, T. F., Tikoff, J., Harwood, C. L., Atit, K., & Boone, A. P. (2014). Evaluating Geoscience Students’ Spatial Thinking Skills in a Multi-Institutional Classroom Study. Journal of Geoscience Education, 62(1), 146-154.

Population: Adults

Test Location:
Please, email Carol Ormand: cormand [at] carleton [dot] edu

 Mental Rotation

Animal Metal Rotation

The test uses line drawings of animals rotated in the picture plane. One version of test provides both RT & accuracy data for declaring a pair of animals identical vs. mirror images (comes from Jansen and colleagues). We have simplified this task by eliminating comparison of the rotated animal to a standard.


♦ Wiedenbauer, G., & Jansen-Osmann, P. (2008). Manual training of mental rotation in children. Learning and Instruction, 18(1), 30-41.

Population: 4-6 year olds

Test Location:
Please, email Petra Jansen-Osmann: petra.jansen [at] psk.uni-regensburg [dot] de


 Mental Rotation Children’s Mental Transformation Task (CMTT)

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.

For more information: Please, email the Lead Researcher:
Susan Levine (Co-PI), University of Chicago: s-levine [at] uchicago [dot] edu


♦ 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]

Population: 4-7 year olds

Test Location:
Open Excel document  CMTT Answer Key
Open Excel document  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.
  • Open .pdf document  CMTT_A_Order1
  • Open .pdf document  CMTT_A_Order2
  • Open .pdf document  CMTT_B_Order1
  • Open .pdf document  CMTT_B_Order2
  • Open .pdf document  CMTT_C_Order1
  • Open .pdf document  CMTT_C_Order2
  • Open .pdf document  CMTT_D_Order1
  • Open .pdf document  CMTT_D_Order2

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.
 Mental Rotation Ghost Puzzle

Participants have to pick which one of two puzzle pieces would fit into a hole on a board. Pieces depict ghost – one is identical to the outline of the hole and one is a mirror versions thereof. Stimulus orientation varies in 30deg steps.


♦ Frick, A., Hansen, M. A., & Newcombe, N. S. (2013). Development of mental rotation in 3-to 5-year-old children. Cognitive Development, 28(4), 386-399.

Population: 3.5 year olds

Mental Rotation

 Stereochemistry Task

An organic chemistry task that requires mental rotation of complex molecules, along with a coding manual of spatial strategies for solving the task.

Population: Adults

Test Location:
Please, email Susan Goldin-Meadow, SILC Co-PI: sgm [at] uchicago [dot] edu
Mental Rotation

  Touch Screen Puzzle

Participants have to point one of two holes on a touchscreen where the piece would fit. Stimulus orientation varies in 45deg steps.


♦ Frick, A., Ferrara, K., & Newcombe, N. S. (2013). Using a touch screen paradigm to assess the development of mental rotation between 3½ and 5½ years of age. Cognitive Processing, 14(2), 117-127.

Population: 3.5 – 5.5 year olds

 Navigation      Virtual SILC Test of Navigation (SILCton)

Administered on a desktop computer, this measure assesses how accurately an individual can learn the layout of buildings around a large-scale outdoor environment. The entire paradigm takes approximately 30 minutes.

References:  Weisberg, S.M., Schinazi, V.R., Newcombe, N.S., Shipley T.F., & Epstein, R.A. (2014). Variations in cognitive maps: Understanding individual differences in navigation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(3), 669-682. [Abstract] [DOI]. 

Nazareth, A., Weisberg, S.M., Margulis, K., & Newcombe, N.S. (2018). Charting the development of cognitive mapping. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 170, 86-106.[Paper]

Population: Adults

Test Location:
Alternatively, or as a backup, you can download the offline standalone versions of all 4 routes and the pointing task. Please follow the instructions in the zip folders for how to use them. 
Silcton Standalone_Mac (folder)
Silcton Standalone_PC (folder)
If you would like to use Silcton in your own research, please email Steven Weisberg: smweis [at] gmail [dot] com
FAQ:  If you have any other questions, consult the Documentation folder
 Perspective Taking    Perspective Taking for Children (PIT-C)

Children see scenes of toy photographers taking pictures of layouts of objects from different angles. Children were asked to choose which one of four pictures could have been taken from a specific viewpoint.


♦ Frick, A, Möhring, W. and Newcombe, N. S. (2014). Picturing Perspectives: Development of Perspective-Taking Abilities in 4- to 8-Year-Olds. Frontiers in Psychology,. 5, 386. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00386

Population: 4-8 year olds

Test Location:
Please, email
Andrea Frick: depsy [at] gmx [dot] net
 Scaling Spatial Scaling Test (SST)

Children are asked to locate targets (eggs) in a two-dimensional spatial layout (fields) using information from a second spatial representation (map).


♦ Frick, A. & Newcombe, N. (2012). Getting the big picture: Development of spatial scaling abilities. Cognitive Development, 27(3), 270-282. [DOI: /10.1016/j.cogdev.2012.05.004]

Population: 3-6 year olds

Test Location:
Open .pdf File  Spatial Scaling Test
 Spatial Assembly      Test of Spatial Ability (TOSA)

This is a match-to-sample spatial assembly task requiring participants to complete 12 trials where they copy a target arrangement of geometric shapes (2-D trials) or interlocking blocks (3-D trials).  The test assesses spatial skills in 3-year-olds to capture individual differences and study their relationship to early mathematics.  Early results suggest that the task works well in predicting later spatial skills at ages 4 and 5.  There are concerns with ceiling effects when the test is used with 48 months or older.  Piloting with children 30-months-old indicates that it can be administered to younger children, although there is still significant work necessary to verify the reliability and validity of the test for younger ages.  The test shows significant SES effects in this age range, but no significant sex differences have been observed to date.


♦ Verdine, B. N., Golinkoff, R. M., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Newcombe, N. S., Filipowicz, A. T., & Chang, A. (2013). Deconstructing building blocks: Preschoolers’ spatial assembly performance relates to early mathematics skills. Child Development. [DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12165]

♦ Verdine, B. N., Irwin, C., Golinkoff, R. M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (in press). Spatial skill and executive function predict to 4-year-olds’ math skill. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.

Population: 3-6 year olds

Test Location:
Please email
Brian Verdine: brian.verdine [at] gmail [dot] com
Roberta Golinkoff: roberta [at] udel [dot] edu
Spatial Education Software


People sketch to work through ideas and to communicate, especially when dealing with spatial matters. AI software that could participate in sketching as people do could revolutionize education. To that end, we created CogSketch, one fo the products of SILC. CogSketch is both an instrument for cognitive science research and a platform for new kinds of sketch-based educational software. Our goal when SILC started was that sketch-based educational software could be widely available to students as graphing calculators were back then. We have achieved this vision, via tight collaboration between AI researchers on the CogSketch development team and psychologists, learning scientists, and educators.

Visit the CogSketch website to download the latest versions of the software.


Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence for Design (Lai4D) Designer 



The LAI4D widget is a minimalist 3D viewer and designer for the web all in one. This widget can be easily embedded in other web pages in the form of an IFRAME element whose URL indicates the drawing source. The viewer allows to render and explore 3D drawings in web pages without the need of plugins even if the device is not WebGL enabled. The designer is the free drawing tool for the people without the time to learn the usage of a professional CAD application and that need results in minutes. It allows to create 3D drawings by writing the description of the geometries using a really simple language. Visit the LAI4D website to learn more about this software.

Start using the LAI4D to create 3D models here

 Spatial Language    Spatial Language Coding Manual

This coding system was developed for two research studies. The first study was designed to examine parents’ use of spatial language as they engaged in puzzle play with their young children. The second study was designed to examine patterns and growth in children’s spatial language production, as well as its association with caregiver spatial language production and children’s performance on various spatial tasks. In addition, we are currently in the process of applying this coding system to two additional studies. One of these studies is concerned with parents’ speech to their children in the context of other structured activities (e.g., book reading and construction activities). The other study examines preschool teachers’ use of spatial language.


  • Cannon, J., Levine, S., & Huttenlocher, J. (2007). A system for analyzing children and caregivers’ language about space in structured and unstructured contexts. Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC) technical report.

Developed By:

Joanna Cannon, Susan Levine (Co-PI), Janellen Huttenlocher

Primary Author Contact Information:
Joanna Cannon, The University of Chicago
jcannon [at] uchicago [dot] edu

Spatial Language Coding Manual
Open .pdf File     A System for Analyzing Children and Caregivers’ Language about Space in Structured and Unstructured Contexts
 2D to 3D Translation   Diagrammatic Representations Test (DRT)

Children are shown photographs of geometric objects and asked to choose the corresponding line drawing from among set of four, or vice versa.


♦ Frick, A., & Newcombe, N. S. (in press). Young children’s perception of diagrammatic representations. Spatial Cognition and Computation: An Interdisciplinary Journal.

Population: 4-8 year olds

Test Location:
Open .pdf document  Test stimuli with instructions


 Understanding Topographic Maps Topographic Map Assessment (TMA)

The TMA consists of 18 problems involving the use and understanding of topographic maps. Individuals must be able to understand the rules/conventions of topo maps, and be able to visualize terrains from contour maps to solve problems correctly.

Developed by:

Matt Jacovina, Carol Ormand, Thomas Shipley, and Steven Weisberg.

Population: Adults

Test Location:
Open .pdf document  The Topographic Map Assessment document
Open .pdf document  An optional handout to use before administering the test.
Open .pdf document  The Topographic Map Assessment Key
     Geometry Playground Spatial Language Coding Manual

This audio and video coding scheme was developed to assess the spatial reasoning language used by adults and children while exploring interactive geometry exhibits at the Exploratorium, a science center in San Francisco, CA (. The scheme identifies spatial language utterances, measures their duration, and categorizes them into three levels: Static, Dynamic and Causal (National Research Council, 2006). The study coded video of 120 adult-child dyads, analyzing adults’ and children’s speech separately. The scheme resulted in good to excellent levels of inter-rater agreement, with Cohen’s Kappa statistics of .76 for adults and .72 for children (Fleiss, Levin, & Paik, 2004).

The full research study and results are described here:
Dancu, T. Gutwill, J., & Sindorf, L. (In press). Comparing The Visitor Experience At Immersive And Tabletop Exhibits. Curator, 58(4).


♦ Bloom, L., & Capatides, J. B. (1987). Sources of Meaning in the Acquisition of Complex Syntax: The Sample Case of Causality. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 43, 112-128.

♦ Callanan, M. A., Shrager, J., & Moore, J. L. (1995). Parent-child collaborative explanations: Methods of identification and analysis. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 4(1), 105-129.

♦ Casasola, M., Bhagwat, J., & Burke, A. S. (2009). Learning to form a spatial category of tight-fit relations: how experience with a label can give a boost. Developmental Psychology, 45, 711-723.

♦ Dancu, T., Gutwill, G., & Sindorf, L. (2015). Comparing the Visitor Experience At Immersive and Tabletop Exhibits. Curator, 58(4).

♦ Fleiss, J. L., Levin, B., & Paik, M. C. (2004). The Measurement of Interrater Agreement Statistical Methods for Rates and Proportions, Third Edition (pp. 598-626). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

♦ Gentner, D. & Christie, S. (2008). Relational language supports relational cognition in humans and apes: A response to Penn, Holyoak & Povinelli. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 31, 137-183.

♦ Linn, M. C., & Petersen, A. C. (1985). Emergence and Characterization of Sex Differences in Spatial Ability: A Meta-Analysis. Child Development, 56(6), 1479-1498.

♦ National Research Council. (2006). Learning to Think Spatially: GIS as a Support System in the K-12 Curriculum. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

♦ Pruden, Levine, S., & Huttenlocher, J. (2011). Children’s spatial thinking: Does talk about the spatial world matter? Developmental Science, 14(6), 1417-1430.

♦ Serra, M. (2003). Discovering geometry: An investigative approach. Emeryville, CA: Key Curriculum Press.

♦ Tartre, L. (1990). Spatial Orientation Skill and Mathematical Problem Solving. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 21(3), 216-229.

♦ (n.d.). Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition. Retrieved May 15, 2010, from website:

Population: Adults and/or Children (the study used Adult and Child pairings)

Test Location:
Open .pdf document  Geometry Playground Spatial Language Coding Manual

Library of Shepard and Metzler-type Mental Rotation Stimuli

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.

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


♦ 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.

Library of Shepard and Metzler type mental rotation stimuli:
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.
    Mental Rotation Stimuli (Giorgio Ganis)

This data set contains the individual files (in PICT format) used in the study cited below and a .tar archive with all the files. The set has 47  Shepard and Metzler figures and their mirror images. This set is especially useful for training studies in which shape repetition would be problematic.

The file naming conventions are as follows. The first 4 numbers are the number of blocks in the four arms of the figure. The fifth number can be 0, 90 or 180. It’s a rotation factor of part of the figure (basically, one can generate more then one shape for a given set of 4 arm lengths). The number after the ‘Y’ is the angle of rotation between the shapes (3 angles, 50, 100, and 150). Finally, if the filename starts with ‘R’, it means that the two shapes are mirror-images of each other.

Email the Lead Researcher:

   Giorgio Ganis, Harvard Medical School


♦ Wright R, Thompson WL, Ganis G, Newcombe NS & Kosslyn SM. (2008). Training generalized spatial skills. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15(4), 763-71.

Validation data and stimulus set:
A New Set of Three-Dimensional Shapes for Investigating Mental Rotation Processes: Validation Data and Sti

Object-Location Memory Task

Here is a web publication for computerized assessment of object-location memory based on Silverman and Eal’s task (1992).

Lead Researcher: Kathleen Flannery, Saint Anselm College 


♦ Flannery, K. & Eddy, M. (1999). Object location memory [On-line:].

Object-Location Memory Task instrument:

Object Perspective/Spatial Orientation Test

Email the Lead Researcher:

Mary Hegarty, University of California, Santa Barbara


♦ Kozhevnikov, M. & Hegarty, M. (2001). A dissociation between object-manipulation and perspective-taking spatial abilities. Memory & Cognition, 29, 745-756.

♦ Hegarty. M. & Waller, D. (2004). A dissociation between mental rotation and perspective-taking spatial abilities. Intelligence, 32, 175-191.

The test instrument:
Open .pdf document  Perspective Taking/Spatial Orientation Test (12 questions with answers)
The read-aloud directions:
Open .pdf document  The read-aloud directions for the Perspective Taking test (credit: Kim Kastens)

Revised Purdue Spatial Visualization Test (Revised PSVT:R): Visualization of Rotations

The Revised Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Visualization of Rotations (Revised PSVT:R) (Yoon, 2011) is a revised version of the PSVT:R (Guay, 1976). The Revised PSVT:R is an instrument to measure spatial visualization ability in 3-D mental rotation of individuals aged 13 and over. The psychometric instrument has 2 practice items followed by 30 test items that consist of 13 symmetrical and 17 asymmetrical figures of 3-D objects, which are drawn in a 2-D isometric format. In the revised version, figures are rescaled and items are reordered from easy to difficult under the framework of item response theory (IRT). Please, note that a technical manual for the Revised PSVT:R is in preparation by Dr. Yoon and Dr. Maeda.

Here is one of the practice items in the Revised PSVT:R.

Email the Lead Researcher:

To request a copy of the Revised PSVT:R (2011):

Please, email So Yoon (Yoona) Yoon (Spatial Network Member), Texas A & M University:

{ soyoon [at] tamu [dot] edu }

Citation for the Revised PSVT:R:

Yoon, S. Y. (2011). Revised Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Visualization of Rotations (Revised PSVT:R) [Psychometric Instrument].


♦ Maeda, Y., & Yoon, S. Y. (2013). A meta-Analysis on gender differences in mental rotation ability measured by the Purdue Spatial Visualization Tests: Visualization of Rotations (PSVT:R). Educational Psychology Review, 25, 69-94. doi: 10.1007/s10648-012-9215-x

♦ Maeda, Y., Yoon, S. Y., Kim-Kang, K., & Imbrie, P. K. (2013). Psychometric properties of the Revised PSVT:R for measuring First Year engineering students’ spatial ability. International Journal of Engineering Education, 29, 763-776.

♦ Guay, R. B. (1976). Purdue Spatial Visualization Test. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue Research Foundation.

♦ Yoon, S. Y. (2011). Psychometric properties of the Revised Purdue Spatial Visualization Tests: Visualization of Rotations (The Revised PSVT:R) (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (Order Number: 3480934).


Santa Barbara Solids Test (Inferring cross sections of 3D objects)

Email the Lead Researcher:

Cheryl Cohen, SILC Alumni Member, Washington University:

{ drcheryl316 [at] gmail [dot] com }


♦ Cohen, C. A. & Hegarty, M. (2007). Sources of difficulty in imagining cross sections of 3D objects. In D. S. McNamara & J. G. Trafton (Eds.), Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp.179-184). Austin TX: Cognitive Science Society.

♦ Cohen, C. A. & Hegarty, M. (2012). Inferring cross sections of 3D objects: A new spatial thinking test. Learning and Individual Differences, 22(6), 868-874.

Test Location:
Santa Barbara Solids Test 2018
    Spatial Reasoning Instrument

The paper-and-pencil Spatial Reasoning Instrument (SRI; Ramful, Lowrie & Logan, 2016) consists of 30 multiple-choice items based on three constructs (with 10 items per construct): namely, mental rotation, spatial orientation and spatial visualization. The design of the SRI is aligned to the type of spatial maneuvers and task representations that middle-school students may encounter in mathematics and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related subjects. The SRI is intended to assess the ability to think deeply with, and apply, spatial thinking skills in school-aged children.

Email the Lead Researchers/Contacts:

Ms. Tracy Logan, University of Canberra (Australia):

{ Tracy.Logan [at] canberra [dot] }

Professor Tom Lowrie, University of Canberra (Australia)

{ Thomas.Lowrie [at] canberra [dot] }

Dr. Ajay Ramful, Mauritius Institute of Education (Mauritius):

{ a.ramful [at] mieonline [dot] org }


♦ Ramful, A., Lowrie, T., & Logan, T. (in press). Measurement of spatial ability: Construction and validation of the spatial reasoning instrument for middle school students. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. DOI

Test Location:
Open .pdf document  :  the instrument
Open .pdf document  :  the scoring key

Spatial Reference Frame Proclivity Test

This test was developed based on the ‘tunnel task’ (Gramann et al., 2005; 2006; 2010) to identify individual proclivities in using an egocentric or an allocentric spatial reference frame during a virtual navigation task.

In this internet-based version of the task participants see passages through starfields that include heading changes in yaw (left or right) and pitch (up or down). Their task is to keep up orientation during the passages and, at the end of the passage to select one out of four homing vectors pointing back to the origin (homing task). The program is reduced to a ‘categorization’ version which allows the experimenter to run a short (approx. 20 min.) version for pre- or post-identification of individual reference frame proclivities that might influence participant’s behavior on other spatial tasks (Gramann, in press). Participants do not actively adjust the homing vector but have to select one out of four possible homing vectors representing egocentric and allocentric homing adjustments in yaw and pitch. Participants’ reference frame proclivity can be used as factor in any statistical design or simply to select extreme groups for further analyzes.

The extension of the tunnel to include heading changes in pitch further allows to differentiate a third navigation strategy. Besides the well-established strategy groups of Turners (preferentially using an egocentric reference frame during navigation) and Nonturners (preferentially using an allocentric reference frame during navigation), a third strategy group can be identified. This group is labelled ‘Switchers’ as they systematically seem to switch from one refrence frame to another dependent on the axis of heading changes (yaw vs. pitch) experienced during navigation (Gramann et al, in press).

We are interested in cultural differences in the distribution of reference frame proclivities and appreciate if you could point interested researchers and students to this internet test. If you are interested in using the task for your own experiments please let us know and we will provide you with further information.

Email the Lead Researcher:

   Klaus Gramann: kgramann [at] uni-osnabrueck [dot] de

The link to the internet-based experiment: The overall duration of the experiment is only approximately 20 minutes including a brief questionnaire at the end.

Related Articles:

♦ Gramann, K., Wing, S., Jung, T. -P., Viirre, E., & Riecke, B. E. (2012). Switching spatial reference frames for yaw and pitch navigation. Spatial Cognition & Computation: An Interdisciplinary Journal: Special Issue: Unusual Bodies, Uncommon Behaviors: Embodied Cognition and Individual Differences in Spatial Tasks, 12(2-3), 159-194.

♦ Chiou, T. -C., Gramann, K., Ko, L. -W., Duann, J. -R., Jung, T. -P., & Lin, C. -T. (2012). Alpha modulation in parietal and retrosplenial cortex correlates with navigation performance. Psychophysiology, 49(1), 43-55.

♦ Gramann, K. (2013). Embodiment of Spatial Reference Frames and Individual Differences in Reference Frame Proclivity. Spatial Cognition & Computation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 13(1), 1-25..

♦ Gramann, K., Onton, J., Riccobon, D., Müller, H.J., Bardins, S., & Makeig, S. (2010). Human brain dynamics accompanying use of egocentric and allocentric referene frames during navigation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(12), 2836-2849.

♦ Plank, M., Onton, J., Mueller, H.J., Makeig, S., & Gramann, K. (2010). Human EEG correlates of egocentric and allocentric path integration. In C. Hoelscher et al. (Eds.), Spatial Cognition VII – Lecture notes in artificial intelligence 6222 (pp. 191-206). Springer: Berlin.

♦ Gramann, K., el Sharkawy, J. & Deubel, H. (2009). Eye-movements during navigation in a virtual tunnel. International Journal of Neuroscience, 119(10), 1755-1778.

♦ Lin, C.T., Yang, F.S., Chiou, T.C., Ko, L.W., Duann, J.R., & Gramann, K. (2009). EEG-based spatial navigation estimation in a virtual reality driving environment. Proceedings of the Ninth IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Bioengeneering, 435-438.

♦ Seubert, J., Humphreys, G., Müller, H. J., & Gramann, K. (2008). Straight after the turn: The role of the parietal lobes for egocentric space processing. Neurocase, 14(2), 204-219.

♦ Gramann, K., Müller, H.J., Schönebeck, B. & Debus, G. (2006). The neural basis of ego- and allocentric reference frames in spatial navigation: Evidence from spatio-temporal coupled current density reconstruction. Brain Research, 1118, 116-129.


Thurstone Primary Mental Abilities (Mental Rotation Task)

The Task:
Open .pdf document Rotation Task Form A
Open .pdf document Rotation Task Form B
Open .pdf document Rotation Task Form AB
Open .pdf document Rotation Task Form BA
Open .pdf document Square and Rectangle
Open .pdf document Instructions
Open .pdf document Administration of test

Vandenberg & Kuse Mental Rotation Test (Redrawn version)

The original Vandenberg & Kuse Mental Rotation Test has deteriorated to such an extent (only copies of copies are available) that it is of questionable usefulness. We have redrawn this test and it is available in four versions: the basic test (MRTA), an alternate form (MRTB), stimuli presented for rotation around the horizontal axis (MRTD), and a very difficult test, where stimuli have to be rotated both around the vertical and horizontal axis (MRTC). This test is protected by copyright. In the literature, you may find a 20 item version of the test and a 24 item version. I am providing the 24 item version because some selected subject populations get group means that are uncomfortably close to the ceiling of the 20 item version and this complicates statistical analysis.

To inquire about the test, please send an e-mail to the address given below. The test is available now in the following languages. I want to express my heart- felt thanks to all of those individuals who have kindly provided me with translations of the text in the test pages. Naturally, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the translations and you may wish to consult the original English version for comparison.

  • Arabic
  • Belgian (Flemish)
  • Chinese
  • Croatian
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Farsi
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Indonesian Bahasa
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • New Malay
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Spanish
  • Turkish

In the spirit of the original researchers who have generously provided the basic cube stimulus figures to many researchers, these test are provided to researchers free of any cost. However, they have to adhere to conditions of use that protect the integrity of the test by not allowing it to get into general circulation.

A very large stimulus library of the Shepard-type cube figures is also available, suitable for computer presentation, also free of charge.

Please note that we provide the test only to Faculty and Graduate students.

Email the Lead Researcher or Secondary Contact:

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

    Bruno Laeng, University of Oslo (Secondary Contact): bruno.laeng [at] psykologi [dot]


♦ 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.

The test instrument:
Please, email the lead researcher.
  Visualization Assessment and Training (VIZ)

VIZ: The visualization assessment and training website, was developed as an open access site for the assessment and training of spatial skills. The site uses separate modules to collect accuracy and response times. We currently have four tasks, mental rotation, paper folding, water level, and spatial working memory and other tasks can be contributed. Excel macros that are currently under development will allow users to access data from a group or by date.

Email the Lead Researchers:

  Dawn Blasko, The Pennsylvania State University

  Kathy Holliday-Darr, The Pennsylvania State University

            { ib4 [at] psu [dot] edu }

  Jennifer Trich-Kremer, The Pennsylvania State University

            { jdt107 [at] psu [dot] edu }


♦ Blasko, D., Holliday-Darr, K., Mace, D., & Blasko-Drabik, H. (2004). VIZ: The visualization assessment and training website. Behavior Research Methods Instruments & Computers, 36(2), 256-260.

♦ Holliday-Darr, K., Blasko, D., & Dwyer, C. (1999). Improving Cognitive Visualization with a Web-Based Interactive Assessment and Training program. Proceedings American Society for Engineering Educators, Engineering Design Graphics Division 54th Annual Mid Year Meeting (pp. 147-151).

The website:
   Visualization of Views Test

Email the Lead Researcher:

Mary Hegarty, University of California, Santa Barbara

A test adapted from an unpublished Visualization of Views test by Guay that we read about in Elliot & Smith’s compendium of spatial abilities tests. A paper has not been published on this test yet, but it is cited in the following two in-press papers:


♦ Hegarty, M., Keehner, M., Khooshabeh, P., & Montello, D. R. (2009). How spatial abilities enhance, and are enhanced by, dental education. Learning and Individual Differences, 19(1), 61-70.

♦ Keehner, M., Hegarty, M., Cohen, C. A., Khooshabeh, P., & Montello, D. R. (2008). Spatial reasoning with external visualizations: What matters is what you see, not whether you interact. Cognitive Science, 32(7), 1099–1132.

Test Location:
Open .pdf document the test
Open .pdf document the answer key
Open Word document the answer key