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Psychology 2135A/B Final: Psychology 2135 - Final

Course Code
Mark Holden
Study Guide

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Basic ideas of mental imagery
The ability to recreate the sensory world in absence of a physical stimulus: most focus is on visual imagery,
auditory imagery is also relatively common. Can even have tactile, olfactory, gustatory imagery.
Which person/group believed that all thought requires imagery?
Which person/group believed that imagery is “unproven” or “mythological”?
Behaviourism (as they only focus on things that can be directly observed).
Dual Coding Theory (Paivio)
What is the basic idea of dual coding theory?
There are two ways that we can mentally represent/remember things: either using a verbal code (language)
or visually (imagining what they look like).
What are the two systems, and how do they interact with one another?
Two systems of mentally representing the world: verbal and non-verbal (mental imagery).
Referential connections: verbal description = mental image OR mental image = verbal description.
According to dual coding theory, would a list of concrete nouns (e.g. table, truck, etc…) or abstract nouns
(justice, peace, etc…) be easier to remember? Why?
Concrete objects are much easier to remember because they can be more easily coded using verbal and
non-verbal codes (harder to imagine what ‘peace’ looks like rather than ‘baseball bat’. Encoding something
in both systems = better memory!
Paired associated task: given 1st word, what was the 2nd word? Dual coding explains this as the
difference between verbal vs. visual AND verbal – more retrieval cues.
Describe the conceptual peg hypothesis
Paired associates (A/A, C/C, C/A, A/C): learning is best with concrete words, and worst with abstract
words – but C/A is also better than A/C.
- Boat-tree: giving you either one gives you a part of the combined image; verbal and visual
retrieval cues, but you can re-create it.
- Deceit-tree vs. tree-deceit: deceit is hard to visualize, creates a very weak visual retrieval cue.
Thus, what’s important is the concreteness of the retrieval cue – is this able to be visualized?
In a paired associates task, if we give people the 1st word of the pair and ask them to recall the 2nd word,
which of the following is easiest? Which is hardest? [Concrete-concrete, concrete-abstract, abstract-
concrete, abstract-abstract]
Easiest: concrete-concrete, hardest: concrete-abstract, middle: concrete-abstract THEN abstract-concrete.
Imagery Debate
Briefly outline the analogue and propositional approaches, using the terms “abstract”, “depictive”,
“language-like”, and “spatial code”
Analogue Position: representations are depictive and use spatial code (like a picture).
Depictive: mental representations are something like physical images – “analogous”.
Spatial code: preserves information about distances/directions. BUT mental images aren’t exactly
the same, and will be missing details if not encoded.
Propositional Position: representations are abstract and use language-like code.
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Language-like: mental representations are not physical images but rather propositions
(above/below, left/right, in front/behind) – but not a verbal description (like computer
Abstract: we can use the language-like code to create a mental picture; mental image will have
basic spatial relationships, but likely not precise proportions/distances. We might experience the
feeling of having mental representations, but the fundamental representation is language-like.
What is an epiphenomenon? How does this term apply to the imagery debate?
In the abstract representation of the propositional position, mental images are an epiphenomenon –
something that happens alongside the primary phenomenon, but is essentially unrelated (byproduct, tells us
nothing about what is going on inside).
Distance Scanning
What were the basic results of Kosslyn’s studies (using the boat, map, etc.)?
Kosslyn’s Mental Scanning Task: person creates a mental image of something, then scans it in their mind’s
eye (memorize the picture); asked questions about image features (features have different distances
between them.
Measured reaction time: the farther one had to “travel” to detect the
feature, the longer (slower) the reaction time. Concluded that imagery
is analogous to perception – takes us longer to physically scan longer
distances, too.
BUT maybe it also takes longer because we get distracted by other
interesting things in between the two points? Between the flag and
rudder, there are lots of eye-catching things.
New experiment: 7 locations on island, 21 “trips”, several with nothing in
between. Only thing that differentiates these is the difference between them.
Results: the longer the distance that a person had to travel, the more
time it took before they pushed a button. The time to travel longer distances was
greater than the time to travel a short distance; thus, mental imagery is
analogous for perception.
How would someone like Zenon Pylyshyn explain the results of the boat study?
Propositional position; more links = longer processing time.
What is the basic idea behind the Tacit Knowledge explanation for the results of the map study?
People assume that their task is meant to be a simulation of what it would be like to witness the event in the
“real world” – we know that it takes longer to travel long distances, so we unconsciously simulate that in
our mind, leading to a longer reaction time.
Briefly describe Finke & Pinker’s (1982) mental scanning study
Scanning: most take this as support of the analog position.
Briefly showed people 4 dots, dots disappear, 2 second delay – arrow: does the arrow point toward one of
the dots? Reaction time varied with distance from arrow to dot: farther from dot = longer to say yes.
How did this study more-or-less rule out the tacit knowledge explanation?
The dots were only briefly presented, not giving enough time for people to memorize the distances of all
the dots: which makes the idea of tactic knowledge very unlikely.
Mental Rotation
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Given the mental rotation task, what results would each of the analogue and propositional positions
Analogue: it will take longer to make larger rotations because they have to rotate it, like a picture.
Proposition position: language-like description wouldn’t vary with rotation.
Results: greater angular difference causes longer reaction time; mental rotation supports the analogue
Briefly describe Paivio’s clock study and the results.
Which angle is larger? 3:20 vs. 7:25 or 3:20 vs. 7:05 – real vs. imagined clocks.
Results found that the larger the difference between the two clocks, the faster the decision – for both
groups. Similar results for judging the similarity of shapes of various states: more dissimilar = faster
judgment. Shape study supports the analogue position.
Briefly describe Reed’s (1974) study and the results.
Create a mental image of this figure – which shapes are present?
- BOTH triangle and parallelogram. In this case, it seems that perception is actually different than
mental imagery: people did not store a perfect image, just very basic spatial relations.
oProposition position supported.
Briefly describe Kosslyn’s (1978) study that required people to imagine 2 animals next to each other.
It’s easier to see details of something close-up. “Imagine two animals near each other, so that the large one
takes up most of your visual field.” Asked: does a rabbit have whiskers?
Results: people were significantly faster to answer questions when the animal takes up more of the visual
field, as though it’s easier to “see” the details – supports the analogue position.
What would the analogue position predict for this study? What would the propositional position predict?
Analogue would say that it’s easier to imagine the larger animal because you can picture it better;
propositional would say that you would be able to imagine them equally because they are similar.
For each of the above tasks, which position in the imagery debate did the results tend to support
[obviously, support was not 100% but the results of each task would seem to bolster one side of the
argument more than the other]
Finke & Pinker’s mental scanning: analogue position.
Mental rotation task: analogue position.
Paivio’s clock study: analogue position.
Reed’s ambiguous figures: propositional position.
Kosslyn’s animal study: analogue position.
Imagery and Neuroscience
Describe Kreimen at al.’s (2000) study on imagery and single-cell recording. What were the critical
Seizure patients with electrodes in MTL: certain neurons respond to seeing specific objects (e.g. baseball,
but not faces) – same neurons activate when imagining the object, which supports the analogue position.
fMRI research examining perception and imagery has examined both higher-order visual areas, as well as
activity throughout the brain.
LeBihan: compared activation in the visual cortex for perception vs. imagery of the same objects: found
that activation in higher-order visual areas increased under both conditions, which supports the analogue
Ganis et al.: compared overall brain activation for perception vs. imagery of the same objects. People first
saw a whole bunch of pictures, once in fMRI, given the name of a certain picture and asked some questions
about it.
Perception condition: see faint outline of image, imagery condition: imagine the picture.
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