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Brain Teaser: Test your mental rotation skills

Posted Sep 28 2010 7:43am

Are you familiar with mental rotation? As the name indicates it refers to moving things around in your head. It is one of the numerous visuospatial skills that humans have.

Let’s take an exam­ple. Can you pic­ture in your head 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, peo­ple automatically use this abil­ity when they read maps, use tools, play chess, arrange fur­ni­ture, drive in traf­fic, etc.

Men­tal rota­tion relies mostly on the pari­etal areas of your brain (yellow sec­tion in the brain image above).

Here is a brain 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 head.
  • Move the shapes from left to right or right to left but DO NOT FLIP them around.

First set

Second set

Third Set

To see the correct answers click here:


First set: The second shape matches the model.

Second set: The second shape matches the model.

Third set: The first shape matches the model.

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