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Syntax and Mental Imagery (Nov 13 and Nov 15)

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2650
Anneke Olthof

Syntax: phrase structure - The hierarchical division of the sentence into units called phrases Breaks in syntax = change in comprehension, reading speed, Prosody - The pattern of pauses and pitch changes that characterize speech production - Monotone people have trouble with prosody Mental Imagery Mental Imagery - Elicit mental images seen in the mind’s eye - Or heard in the mind’s ear - Or smelled in the mind’s nose Imagery and Memory - When we are mentally visualizing something, we use: o Long term memory o Working memory - Perceptual knowledge: memory for what things look or sound like o Ppl with perceptual knowledge can’t tell you what a penguin looks like Imagery (History) Introspection (Galton) - describe images and rate their vividness - Subjects reported that they could inspect their images much as they would inspect a picture - Scenes were represented as if viewed from a certain position and distance Individual differences - Some subjects described images of photographic clarity, as if they were actually seeing the imaged scene - Others subjects reported very sketchy images, or none at all. They were able to think about the scenes, but they weren’t “seeing” these scenes Individual Differences: Why? - Do individuals really differ in the nature of their mental imagery ability? - Perhaps they just differed in descriptiveness Introspection - What is revealed in self-report data is not imagery, but but rather imagery as the subject elects to describe it - What is needed is a more objective approach - cognitive psychology Chronometric studies of imagery (response time) - Ask subjects to do something with their images – e.g., read information off of them (scanning), or to manipulate them
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