Mental rotation refers to moving things around in your mind. It is one of the main visuo-spatial skills we all have … in different degrees, yes. Here’s an example. Please picture in your mind an arrow pointing to the right. Now, turn this arrow so it points to the left. Done? You have just performed a mental rotation.

Although it is rare to consciously imagine objects moving, we use this cognitive ability when reading maps, using tools, playing chess, arranging furniture, driving in traffic, etc. Mental rotation relies mostly on the parietal areas of your brain.

Here is a mental exercise to stimulate your mental rotation skills.

The top shape is your model. Among the 3 shapes below the model, only one matches the model. To figure out which one does, you will probably have to move the shapes around in your mind.

Move the shapes from left to right or right to left but DO NOT FLIP them around.

First set

Second set

Third set

Answers: First set: Second shape. Second set: Second shape. Third set: First shape.

Ready to imagine yourself moving in space? For each map below, count how many left and right turns you have to make to go from the circle to the triangle. Follow the arrows. Do not move your body or your hands, try to do everything mentally.



Map 1: 3 left runs and 3 right turns

Map 2: 3 left runs and 3 right turns

Map 3: 6 left runs and 4 right turns and