The relationship between sign language experience and mental rotation abilities
Spatial thinking is the mental process of representing, analyzing and drawing inferences from spatial relations. Performance on spatial tasks is positively correlated with expertise in a variety of STEM disciplines such as physical sciences, geosciences, geography, and engineering. Those who have hobbies or careers that are highly spatial show better performance on measures of spatial ability. These gains have been attributed to the constant mental spatial transformations these activities require. Thus, more practice with such spatial transformations may lead to performance gains on psychometric tests of spatial skill, measures that have been shown to predict success in STEM fields. These findings make sense, as practice with spatial transformations should logically lead to performance enhancements in this domain. However, little scientific inquiry has been done investigating a population that uses visuospatial transformations as their primary means of communication - sign language users. The following research will use EEG to explicate the neural processes involved when signers complete mental rotation tasks, while behaviorally testing at what level sign language experience impacts mental rotation performance.