Examining Gender Identity in Spatial Ability: Influences on Mental Rotation Tasks, Spatial Anxiety Scales, and Spatial Memory Tasks

Much of the research on spatial cognition focuses on sex differences found among certain tests of spatial ability. However, little to none of the research considers the role of gender identity in spatial abilities. Gender identity, the internal identification and expression of gender, differs from sex as sex is assigned at birth and can differ from how an individual later identifies. As little research exists on the measurement of individual high in masculine or feminine traits but who do not hit the threshold for gender incongruence with their sex, this study aims to address how varying levels of masculinity and femininity in individuals may influence performance on spatial ability tasks. Mental rotation tasks, spatial anxiety scales and object-location memory tasks were selected for the spatial ability tasks and the GERAS was used to assess levels of masculinity and femininity. Given that the deficit of women in STEM fields may be attributable to reduced spatial abilities and heightened spatial anxiety, this study addresses this deficit through identifying if masculine-identifying women score higher on spatial ability tasks and lower on spatial anxiety scales. Data collection will cease on February 26, 2021 so interpretation of data will be completed after this date.