50 PsychSim 5: My Head is Spinning
PsychSim 5: MY HEAD IS SPINNING
Date: November 17, 2012
This activity provides some background information about thinking with verbal concepts versus thinking with mental images.
• What was your train of thought as you navigated the picture of the candle?
My train of thought as I navigated the picture of the candle was to move my mouse, which then turned into a flame, to the unlit candle wit. At first I sat for a minute because I thought my computer froze, but once I moved my mouse, I saw that cursor turned into a flame.
Cooper & Shepard’s Results
• In the Cooper & Shepard experiment (1973), participants were asked to decide whether a stimulus
(a letter) was normal (simply rotated in the picture plane) or backwards (flipped to its mirror
image before the rotation). Reaction times were graphed and increased as the letters were rotated
away from 0 degrees. Interestingly, reaction time decreased after 180 degrees. Can you explain
why this might occur?
This occurs because they are the same. Since the rotations are smaller and is going in the opposite direction that’s larger than 180 degree, it is the same as the one going in the opposite direction.
Mental Rotation Experiment
• After completing the Mental Rotation experiment and viewing your data, how would you describe
the pattern of your results? Do you think that your results fit the pattern of results from the
After viewing the data from the mental rotation experiment, it showed an increase and then it showed a decrease, which fits Shepard’s experiments.Yes, I do think the results fit the pattern results from the Shepard experiments.
• After comparing the graphs of your results and the results of the Cooper & Shepard (1973) study,
how similar are the two graphs? Did your results show a clear increase in reaction time as the ori-
entation moved away from the...