Dynamic orientation cues decrease the viewpoint cost of mental rotation

Guomei ZHOU*, Zhijie CHENG, Shiqi LI, William G. HAYWARD

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Mental rotation, as a covert simulation of motor rotation, could benefit from spatial updating of object representations. We are interested in what kind of visual cue could trigger spatial updating. Three experiments were conducted to examine the effect of dynamic and static orientation cues on mental rotation, using a sequential matching task with three-dimensional novel objects presented in different views. Experiment 1 showed that a rotating orientation cue with constant speed reduced viewpoint costs in mental rotation. Experiment 2 extended this effect with a varied-speed rotating orientation cue. However, no such benefit was observed with a static orientation cue in Experiment 3. These findings indicated that a visually continuous orientation cue is sufficient to elicit spatial updating in mental rotation. Furthermore, there may be differences in the underlying mechanisms of spatial updating on the basis of constant-speed rotating cues and varied-speed rotating cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-751
Number of pages13
JournalVisual Cognition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30700230, 31170978) to GZ. Thanks to Xi Chen for generating the stimuli.


  • Mental rotation
  • Spatial updating
  • Visual cue


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