Spatial experience results in better performance on Money Road Map Test  

Kim A., Mukhitdinova T., Khon N.
First author's affiliation: Kazak National University, Almaty, Kazakhstan

The purpose of our study was to investigate whether the experience in activities that load considerably on visuo-spatial functions will result in better performance on Money Road Map Test (MRMT). We were also interested whether the performance on this test is sensible to the hand used for tracing the dotted pathway of MRMT. It was hypothesized that right-handers may be more effective (performance times will be shorter and/or with fewer errors), when using their left hand, which is controlled by the right, “spatial”, hemisphere. Thirteen male non-drivers and 14 male non-professional drivers were randomly distributed to four experimental groups (with mean age in years in parentheses): RL non-drivers (22.7), RL drivers (21.6), LR non-drivers (23.1) and LR drivers (23.7). In RL groups, subjects were asked to perform MRMT using their right hand first (in 3 successive trials). They were then given a mental rotation task, followed by 3 trials on MRMT using their left hand. The order was inverse in LR groups. Right-handedness of all subjects approached 75 per cent and higher as assessed by the Edinburgh Handedness Questionnaire. Significant effects of both the order of trials (RL vs. LR) and driving experience were revealed. The interaction of these factors was not significant. LR drivers were performing better than both RL drivers and RL non-drivers, whereas no significant difference in performance of drivers and non-drivers was found in LR group. Non-drivers of LR group performed the task better than RL non-drivers after they had performed the task with their left hand. Therefore, relevant spatial experience enhances performance on Money Road Map Test. The test has also been shown to be sensible to motor activation of the right hemisphere of the brain.