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Chapter 11 notes.docx

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2650
Anneke Olthof

Cognitive Psychology: Chapter 11 Visual Imagery - A variety of day-to-day problems seem to require the use of visual imagery  How many windows are in your apartment?  Was David in class yesterday?  Will this sweater look good with your blue pants? - What is the nature of these mental images? - Francis Galton (1883) used the method of introspection to study mental imagery - His participants’ self-reports suggested that they could inspect their images in much the same way as a picture - The participants also differed widely in the amount of detail their mental images seemed to contain (Or were these differences in self-reporting style?) - Studies of visual imagery in the last fifty years have avoided introspection and instead ask participants to do something with their images – to read information off them or manipulate them in some way - Chronometric studies measure the amount of time required by a cognitive process of interest - Kosslyn (1976) asked participants to answer yes/no questions about their mental images •If participants imagined a cat, they were faster to confirm that cats have heads, compared to confirming that cats have claws • The reverse was true if the participants were asked to think about cats, not to imagine them. • This suggests that as the mode of representation changes, so does the pattern of information availability - Other studies have used the image-scanning procedure to study mental imagery - Kosslyn et al. (1978) first asked participants to memorize this map - They were then asked to mentally scan from one landmark to another on the imagined map - The time it took to scan the image corresponded to the distance on the map - Thus, mental images seem to preserve the spatial layout and geometry of the represented scene - The mental-rotation task also suggests that mental images preserve spatial information in three dimensions - In each pair, are the objects identical, despite being viewed from different perspectives? - The data from this task suggest that the greater the angle of rotation between the two pictures, the longer the response time - It is as if the participants are rotating their mental images of the two objects into alignment - Did the image-scanning and mental-rotation experiments have demand character, or cues that signaled to the participants how they were “supposed to behave” by the experimenter? - These two results are observed even without instruction to use imagery, suggesting that participants spontaneously form mental images and scan them - Mental imagery seems to use perceptual mechanisms - Visual imagery interferes with detecting dim visual stimuli, and auditory imagery interferes with detecting quiet tones - Interference between imagery and perception occurs when we try to visualize one thing while perceiving another - However, if we are imagining a stimulus related to the one we are about to perceive, facilitation occurs - Neuroscience data also support the link between perception and imagery • The same occipital areas used for early visual processing are activated during visual imagery • Patients with unilateral neglect may also neglect the left side of space in their mental images • Disrupting visual-processing areas with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) also disrupts mental imagery - Research also demonstrates a functional equivalence between aspects of visual imagery and visual perception - For instance, studies of visual acuity measure how close two dots can be to each other and still appear distinct - For both perception and imagery, acuity is greatly reduced if the dots are not in the center of vision - People who have been blind since birth also demonstrate the same effects in mental-rotation or image-scanning tasks, with response time being proportional to the distance traveled - Thus, we need to distinguish between visual imagery and spatial imagery - Spatial imagery may be based in movement or body imagery, or it may be abstract and not tied to any one sense - Individual differences in the ability to form mental imagery also suggests a distinction between visual and spatial imagery - Self-reported “vivid imagers” perform no differently than “non-imagers” on tasks that depend on spatial imagery - However, vivid imagers are better on tasks that specifically require visual imagery - Some researchers believe that five percent of all children have what is known as eidetic imagery, an extremely detai
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