The existence of a sex difference in spatial thinking, notably on tasks involving mental rotation, has been a topic of considerable research and debate.
We review this literature, with a particular focus on the development of this sex difference, and consider four key questions:
- When does the sex difference emerge developmentally and does the magnitude of this difference change across development?
- What are the biological and environmental factors that contribute to sex differences in spatial skill and how might they interact?
- How malleable are spatial skills, and is the sex difference reduced as a result of training? and
- Does ‘spatializing’ the curriculum raise the level of spatial thinking in all students and hold promise for increasing and diversifying the STEM pipeline?