Brain regions involved in mental rotation were determined by assessing increases in fMRI activation associated with increases in stimulus rotation during a mirror-normal parity-judgment task with letters and digits. A letter–digit category judgment task was used as a control for orientation-dependent neural processing unrelated to mental rotation per se. Compared to the category judgments, the parity judgments elicited increases in activation in both the dorsal and the ventral visual streams, as well as higher-order premotor areas, inferior frontal gyrus, and anterior insula. Only a subset of these areas, namely, the posterior part of the dorsal intraparietal sulcus, higher-order premotor regions, and the anterior insula showed increased activation as a function of stimulus orientation. Parity judgments elicited greater activation in the right than in the left ventral intraparietal sulcus, but there were no hemispheric differences in orientation-dependent activation, suggesting that neither hemisphere is dominant for mental rotation per se. Hemispheric asymmetries associated with parity-judgment tasks may reflect visuospatial processing other than mental rotation itself, which is subserved by a bilateral fronto-parietal network, rather than regions restricted to the posterior parietal.

You do not currently have access to this content.