Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis


General Science

First Advisor

Tara T. Lineweaver

Second Advisor

Samuel Gurevitz


Visuospatial deficits emerge from the pathophysiology of Huntington's Disease (HD) and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). We directly compared the mental rotation abilities of HD (n=18) and AD (n=18) patients relative to age matched young healthy controls (n=20) and older healthy controls (n=20). Participants completed non-rotational and rotational components of the Right-Left Orientation (RLO), Luria, Money Road Map (MRM), and Stick Construction (SC) tests. Participants indicated the strategy they used on each test: personal rotation, extrapersonal rotation, or non-rotation. Results indicated that HD and AD patients were equally impaired relative to healthy controls on rotational, components of all tests. The groups did not differ in self-reported use of strategies on RLO or Luria, but group differences emerged on MRM and SC. Controls were most likely to use personal rotation on MRM and SC, but strategy choice did not affect performance. Only HD patients were less likely than their controls to use personal rotation on the MRM. Utilization of a personal rotation strategy by patients resulted in better performance on the MRM, but not SC. Together, results suggest that patients with neurodegenerative disorders are less likely to utilize personal rotation strategies on visuospatial tests than healthy peers, which may partly explain their mental rotation deficits.