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Lateralization of event-related potential effects during mental rotation of polygons

Pellkofer, Juliaa; Jansen, Petrab; Heil, Martina

doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e3283540330
Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology

Numerous studies have shown that there is an amplitude modulation of the late positivity depending on the angular disparity during mental rotation performance. However, almost all of these studies used characters as stimulus material, whereas studies with different stimuli are rare. In the present experiment, 35 participants were instructed to rotate polygons mentally. Most importantly, with this stimulus material, the well-known event-related potential effects were also present at posterior electrode leads. Interestingly, the amplitude modulation were found to be larger and more reliable over left than over right posterior electrode leads, a finding reported previously for characters as stimuli, although not consistently. Thus, the present data suggest that the left lateralization of event-related potential effects during mental rotation of characters might not be because of their ‘verbal nature’, but might suggest a stronger involvement of the left parietal cortex during mental rotation per se, a suggestion that needs to be addressed with methods providing a higher spatial resolution.

aInstitute of Experimental Psychology, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf

bInstitute of Sport Science, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany

Correspondence to Martin Heil, PhD, Institute of Experimental Psychology, Heinrich Heine University, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany Tel: +49 211 811 4568; fax: +49 211 811 3490; email:

Received March 16, 2012

Accepted March 20, 2012

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.