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Lab 7.docx

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PSYC 2650
Dan Meegan

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Visual imagery serves an important role in our daily lives, even without our realizing it. It plays a causal role in our behaviors, such as when we salivate or feel hungry after mentally picturing a hot fudge ice cream sundae. While purchasing a new sweater, we may image how it would look with our black striped pants. Or if buying new curtains for an apartment, you might mentally rotate each room and scan the number of windows that need curtains. Although using visual imagery, and operating on those images through scanning and rotation might seem like an ordinary and automatic act, pulling up an image (e.g., of your new apartment) from memory and manipulating that image is a high-level cognitive skill. The way people form and process mental images has been of interest to researchers in cognitive psychology for many years. At its heart, the mental imagery debate is about the nature of the mental representations that we use, and their functional role in cognition. In the Mental rotation, 2-D ZAP you found that there is a strong relation between the degree of mental rotation of two-dimensional letters and the time it takes to make judgments about the letters. This relationship is analogous to longer reaction times to physically rotate an object. The same relationship between degree of rotation and response time was found using three-dimensional stimuli. In the 1970s, Roger Shepard and Metzler presented subjects with pairs of 3-D block figures at various degrees of rotation from each other. The subjects were asked to judge whether the two figures were the same (albeit rotated), or mirror images of each other. This ZAP is a replication of Shepard and Metzler’s original experiment on the mental rotation of 3-D stimuli.] Your data should have shown that response times to the 3-dimensional stimuli were proportionately related to the degree of rotation between the two images. The further the images were rotated relative to each other, the longer it takes to mentally align them. Shepard's research has shown that the mean speed with which people rotate images is about 60 degrees a second. You may have thought that this 3-dimensional rotation task seemed more difficult than the 2-dimensional version of this experiment. In general, people make more mistakes in the three-dimensional task than the two-dimensional task, and also have a longer average time for rotating. However, both the 2- and the 3-dimensional mental rotation tasks show the same linear reaction between degree of rotation and response
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