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Chapter 7

PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Mental Rotation, Memory Map, Rotations In 4-Dimensional Euclidean Space

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Chapter 7 Imagery (page 202-209, 216-232) PSYB57
time space: the visual experience of time units such as days of the week or months of the year as
occupying spatial locations outside the body
o people with time space often report using them as calendars to store important dates such as
birthdays and due dates
number forms: automatically generated images of number in various spatial externally to an individual
Memory and imagery
Paivio’s Dual-Coding Theory
dual-coding theory: the theory that there are two ways of representing events, verbal and non-verbal
o each of them have their own code
o e.g. an event can be described in words using the verbal system or it can be imagined without
words using the non-verbal system
logogens: the unit containing the information underlying our use of a word, the component of the verbal
images: the unit containing information that generate mental images: the components of the non-verbal
o e.g. you can imagine a group of people, one person from the group, the face of the person, the nose
of the face of that person and so on
imagery(Paivio’s sense): the ease with which something such as word can elicit a mental image, it can be
a mental image or sound
concreteness: the degree to which a word refers to something that can be experienced by the sense (i.e.
heard, felt, smelled or tasted)
o to study imagery and concreteness Paivio would give participants the definition of those terms
outlined above and have them rate words on seven-points scales anchored either with low imagery
and high imagery or low concreteness and high concreteness
o in most cases he found concreteness and imagery to be very highly correlated
o this lead him to argue that imagery and concreteness measure tow aspects of the same process
because our experience of concrete events is necessarily saturated with images
o pain and love are not concrete
o according to his concept it refers to objects, persons and places
Research related to dual-coding theory
one study focuses on the role of the imagery in learning
o each group learned a different stimulus-response pair
both words were concrete (e.g. coffee/pencil)
first was concrete and the second was abstract (e.g. string/idea)
first was abstract and the second was concrete (e.g. virtue/chair)
both words were abstract (e.g. event/theory)
o in the first learning trial they were asked to listen to the list of words, after which they were given
the first word of each pair and asked to write down the second word
o after four trials the examination of the total number of correct responses revealed clear differences
between the groups
o learning in the best when both words are concrete and they are the worst when both were abstract
o a concrete stimulus lead to much better recall of the response that an abstract stimulus
o he also had participants rate the image-ability of each word and found that the concrete words
were rated higher than the abstract ones
According to the dual theory this occurs because a concrete word can be coded by both the verbal and
non-verbal system whereas an abstract would will tend to be coded only by the verbal system because it
is not likely to elicit much of an image. Since it is coded by two systems it means it is more readily
Dual-coding Theory and the Brain
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using the spilt-brain, researchers understood that the left hemisphere manages ‘analytic’ (verbal,
rational) tasks and the right hemisphere manages ‘holistic’ task
left and right hemispheres theory: the theory that the left hemisphere of the brain controls speech and
is better at processing verbal material that is the right hemisphere, which is better at non-verbal tasks
a concrete word will trigger greater activity in the right hemisphere than will abstract words but after
neuroimaging research, they concluded that the evidence does not fully support the assumption of a
specific right hemispheric involvement during the processing of concrete relative to abstract words
in one study the participants were given three different types of word and they were given a task where
they had to indicate by a manual response whether or not a stimulus was a word
o concrete words: bike, church, basket
o abstract words: norm, feature, status
o pseudo words: words in which one or two letters have been randomly replaced
this allows experimenters to compare the image of brain activity triggered by abstract and concrete
words even though the participants response should be the same to both (i.e. both are words)
the result showed that the abstract and concrete words elicited different patterns of activity in the right
hemisphere, thus the hypothesis that concrete words elicit greater right-hemisphere activation that
abstract words was not supported
Scott suggested that linking imagery strongly with the right hemisphere is one example among many of
simplistic right brain/ left brain attributions of cognitive functions, which in reality are supported by
rather more complex bilateral system,
Imagery and Mnemonics
Mnemonic techniques: procedures used to aid memory
o According to Yates, imagery has been used as mnemonic techniques since ancient times
o Ad hermennium for example gave instructions for memorizing a great many items
Method of loci: a mnemonic technique based on places and images
o Bower showed that you are able to use this method to come up with a mental shopping list
o First you would form images of various locations around the house such as the living room and
the bedroom, then you would form vivid images of the terms to be bought and relate them to
specific locations
E.g. imagine someone milking a cow in the living room and a loaf of bread tucked into
the bed
At the store you would remember what to buy by imagining each place and
recalling the images located there
Items interrelated to form units are easier to remember than individual items
The fact that imagery can be used to organize disparate items into meaningful units may be part of the
reason it is so useful
Distinctiveness hypothesis: the more distinctive the item is, the easier it will be to recall
Imagery and Distinctiveness
the specific conditions under which bizarreness has an effect have been explored in some detail
people remember bizarre items better when they occur along with common items
if participants were given a list of sentences to learn, some of which were bizarre ( the maid licked
ammonium off the table) and some of which were not ( the maid poured ammonium on the table) , then
the bizarre items were remembered better
von Restorff effect: it one item is set is different from the others, it is more likely to be recalled
Bizarre items are more distinctive than the common items. If the list is composed entirely of bizarre
items ,none of them will be distinctive
Humor and Distinctiveness
Humor can have an effect similar to that of bizarreness
In an experiment, the participants were shown cartoons and were unexpectedly asked to give a brief
explanation of each cartoon
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o When the cartoon showed a mixture of three types, the participants description of the humorous
items became more memorable only when contrasted with non-humorous items
o Humorous items were more were apparently more memorable than weirs items and this raised
the possibility of a connection with the effect of bizarreness
o Although bizarreness is less memorable than weird items, and this raised the possibility of a
connection with the effect of bizarreness although bizarreness is less memorable than humour,
the fact that it often strikes people as funny might help to explain why bizarre items can, under
circumstances, be easier to remember than common ones
o Humor itself may be strong aid to memory, especially in situations where humorous material
stands in contrast to neural material
The problem of distinctiveness
People believe that they are able to remember things better when they make the material that needs to be
remembered distinctive in some way
o One strategy is to store them in a special place
o However, the problem is that when you want to recover that item you forget where that special
place is
The special place to store an item is an unlikely place in which to find it, since they are chosen in a way
that no one will find them
In one experiment the participants were given a sentence describing the location of objects “the milk is
in the refrigerator’ or ‘ the tickets are in the freezer’
o Some are asked to rate the likelihood of that object being found in that location
o Others are asked to rate these sentence for memorability
o Others were asked to imaging putting these items in those places
The items from item-location pairing that were rated low in likelihood were remembered less well than
items form item-location pairing that were rated high in likelihood
So distinctiveness is an effective aid for remembering individual items but it is not so useful for
remembering the associated between items
When you store an item in an unlike place, to retrieve it you need to come up with an associated
between the object and the location and the distinctiveness of the location is irrelevant to the process of
Special places strategy: choosing a storage location that other people will not think of, the problem is
that when the time comes to retrieve the item you may not think of it either
o Strategy for creating password, since you want something that is hard for the others to discover
but easy for you
Metamemory: belief about how memory works
Vividness of visual imagery
Vividness of visual imagery: the degree to which an image is clear and level and resembles and actual
o Can be measure using the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ)
o Defined in terms of clarity and liveliness
o A clear and lively image is one in which color is bright, form is well defined and so on
o A current version of VVIQ ask people to imagine a series of people and scene , they are then
asked to rate the vividness of parts of the resulting image
People that scored high on the VVIQ test tend to learn better than the others
The relationship between vividness and memory is in fact very complex
o Participants looked at a picture taken from a book of British and European birds after having
judged their prior knowledge of birds as either poor or moderate or good
o the ones that rated their previous knowledge as good or moderate had higher vividness rating
than those that rating their previous knowledge as poor
o from this it can proposed that vividness of visual imagery is proportional to familiarity with the
object envisioned
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