MENTAL ROTATION AND MOTOR EXPERTISE: STORAGE DOES NOT ACCOUNT FOR BETTER PROCESSING
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Whether visual and spatial memory span accounts for part of the differences in three-dimensional mental rotation performance is currently debated in the field of spatial cognition. In order to further explore this issue, we assessed mental rotation, visual and spatial memory spans in a sample of elite and novice athletes in combat sports, an activity that has been linked to higher spatial ability. Although results yielded significant differences in mental rotation ability favouring elite athletes, there was no effect of sport expertise on either the visual or the spatial memory span task. In addition, correlations between the visual and spatial memory span tasks and the Mental Rotations Test were not significant, whereas there was a strong correlation between the visual and the spatial memory tasks. We further discuss these findings and their implication in explaining mental rotation differences, as well as toward a comprehensive understanding of the cognitive processes specifically involved in motor performance.
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