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University of Waterloo
Nathaniel Barr

June 25 – Imagery Visual imagery and memory: History of mental imagery: Aristotle, Descartes, Locke – mental images are essential part of thought. Wundt – mental images are essential part of thought, studied imagery in lab with introspective methods. Behaviorist – thought there was no such thing, no way to study it, scientifically. During the cognitive revolution, there started to be experimental studies done and computational modeling. Mnemonics – various techniques are used to increase chances of remembering, many but not all use imagery Method of Loci (location) – imagine a series of places that have a specific order to them, imagine the items that you have to remember in those locations. Binding the item you want to recall is binding it to a place you know. Singular items onto singular things. You need to really know the place you are binding them onto. Ross and Lawrence: when trained with method of Loci, students could recall 38/40. Technique of interacting images: paired associate learning, imagery better than non-imagery, interacting images better than non-interacting images. Non-imagery: just words. Imagery: pictures, interacting imagery: goat-smoking pipe.  Words goat and pipe < pictures of a goat and a pipe separately < Picture of goat smoking pipe. Interactive images are recalled better, bizarreness had no effect. The peg word method: Create an image of memory items with another set of ordered cues, create an easily recalled list of nouns (ordered cues) then picture each memory item interacting with one of the nouns. Only works up to 10. Not practical, what about proactive interference? If we keep using the 2 rhyming part exactly the same, it will interfere. Ex. Dentist appointment – one bun = first rhyme one and bun and then imagine someone in the waiting room holding a bun. Dual code hypothesis: memory contains two distinct coding systems 1. Verbal 2. Imagery Having a dual code improves memory over having only a single code. Pavio – body builder. Made 4 lists: CC =Or 2 concrete words (book table) REMEMBER BEST CA = Or one concrete and one abstract (book, justice) THEN THIS AC = Or one abstract and one concrete (freedom, dress) Harder to remember because the first noun in the pair acts as a conceptual peg on which the second noun is hooked, but how can we hook properly on an abstract? THEN THIS AA = Or 2 abstracts (beauty, truth) LASTLY THIS * First thing that predicts memory is the image ability of the word. (Abstract < concrete) People spontaneously make images for concrete nouns, imagery varies with concreteness and concrete nouns are dual coded whereas abstract are only coded verbally. And there is more strength when dual coded. Who remembers best? Individual differences in memory would. Visual imagery can also give us benefits for memory but if you’re too good then you might over imagine and confuse real things (percepts) with images. Mental rotation: Transformations – Metzler: participants were asked to compare 2 objects and decide if they are the same but the objects presented at different orientations. The time to compare is related to the degree of rotation (the more different the rotation is from the initial state, the longer it should take) Picture plane pairs (less rotation) vs depth pairs (more rotation) 60 degrees per second = rotation rate. Scanning images: Kosslyn: If imagery like perception is spatial, then it should take longer for participants to find parts that are located further from the initial point of focus. (Percepts and images are basically the same) The further apart things are on island, the longer it takes people to traverse that distance mentally. If there are less intervening characteristic (the rocks, the hut etc.) then we will get there faster. The added reaction time was due to physical distance. Properties of visual images: 1. Implicit encoding = images give access to information not explicitly encoded. (Ex. How many cabinet doors are in your kitchen?) we don’t explicitly know, but imaging it in your mind you could add it up. Imagery encoded much more than we consciously know. 2. Perceptual equivalence: imagery activates similar systems, as does perception, People are sometimes unable to distinguish between their own mental images and faint pictures on a s
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