This neat little study showed that different pathways in the brain mediate visual rotation 'in your head' and visual rotation of 'your hand'. Subjects with various brain injuries could have impaired imagery by one pathway, but not by the other. Some children with birth or other injuries may have damage to one pathway, but not to the other. Sometimes a child with stubborn letter reversal problems (as in dyslexia) may correct by one imagery strategy (e.g. visual) but not the other (e.g. kinesthetic).
Effects of Strategies on Mental Rotation