Research has consistently found sex differences in mental rotation. Twin research has suggested that females with male co-twins perform better than females with female co-twins on mental rotation. Because twins share both pre-natal and post-natal environments, it is not possible to test whether this advantage is due to in-uterine transmission of testosterone from males to females or due to socialisation processes. The present study explored whether the advantage of females with brothers can be observed in non-twin siblings. Participants (N = 1799) were assessed on mental rotation. The observed group differences were overall small: males performed significantly better than females; females with sisters performed similarly to females with brothers; importantly, males with brothers performed significantly better than both female groups. The results suggest that sex differences in mental rotation are driven by the group of males with brothers.
Frenken, H., Papageorgiou, K., Tikhomirova, T., Malykh, S., Tosto, M. G., & Kovas, Y. (2016). Siblings’ Sex is linked to Mental Rotation Performance in Males but not Females. Intelligence, 55, 38-43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2016.01.005