Gender-specific associations of depression and anxiety symptoms with mental rotation

Chiaki Oshiyama*, Chihiro Sutoh, Hiroyasu Miwa, Satoshi Okabayashi, Hiroyuki Hamada, Daisuke Matsuzawa, Yoshiyuki Hirano, Tetsuya Takahashi, Shin ichi Niwa, Manabu Honda, Kazuyuki Sakatsume, Takuichi Nishimura, Eiji Shimizu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Men score higher on mental rotation tasks compared to women and suffer from depression and anxiety at half the rate of women. The objective of this study was to confirm the gender-specific effects of depression and anxiety on mental rotation performance. Methods: We collected data in non-experimental conditions from 325 university students at three universities. Participants completed rating scales of depressive and anxiety symptoms, and then simultaneously performed a mental rotation task using tablet devices. Results: We observed no significant difference between men and women in the depressive and anxiety symptoms and task response time. Men had a significantly higher correct answer rate compared with women. The scores of depression and anxiety of all participants were positively correlated. Task response time correlated positively with intensity of depressive symptoms and anxiety in women, but not in men. Women with high depressive symptoms had significantly longer response times than did women with low depressive symptoms, while men had no differences due to depressive symptoms. Limitations: We did not directly examine brain functions; therefore, the underlying neurobiological results are only based on previous knowledge and action data. Conclusions: The pathology of depression and anxiety was reflected in the correct answer rate and response time in relation to the gender difference of brain function used in mental rotation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 1


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Gender differences
  • Mental rotation
  • Tablet device
  • Visual working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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