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Chapter 7

PSYC 3260 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Sketchpad, Stephen Kosslyn, Visual Cortex

Course Code
PSYC 3260
Norman Park

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Chapter 7—mental imagery and cognitive maps
Perception requires both bottom up and top down processing
It is possible to have sensory experiences without bottom up input
The processes that give rise to your ability to create mental images are exclusively top down nature
Mental imagery is knowledge driven
Classical research on visual imagery
Mental imagery—the mental representation of stimuli when those stimuli are not physically present in the enviorment—you can
have a mental image for any sensory experience
Visual imagery—mental representation of visual stimuli
Auditory imagery
Spatial ability is important in the STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics;
oNora newcomb—describes methods for enhancing childrens spatial abilities--teachers can provide helpful training in
spatial skills
oAlbert Einstein emphasized spatial images instead of variable descriptions
The act of perceiving an object involves prosessing info in the environment (bottom up) while relying on internally stored
knowledge in long term memory to interpret the input you are receiving (top down)
William wundt (founder of psych) considered imagery important—john Watson was strongly opposed
Mental rotation
Shepard and metzler measured the DV reaction time, in contrast to the DV of accuracy
oSupports the analog percpective—research on rotating geometric figures =strongest support
Ppls decision time was strongly influenced by the amount of mental rotation required to match a figure with its mate—rotating a
figure 160 degrees requires much more time than rotating it 20 degrees
oPpl performed a three dimensional rotation almost as quickly as a two dimensional rotation
oRelationship bw (angle of) rotation and reaction time is a straight line
Takeda—right handers recognized a right hand faster—left handers recognized left and right equally quick
oBoth groups recognized upright pics faster
oElderly perform slower
Amount of time ppl take to rotate a mental image depends on the extent of the rotation, just as when we rotate a real physical object.
deaf ppl use mental rotation during signing; they also perform well on mental rotation tasks. The nature of the mental rotation
instructions has an influence on the region of the brain that is activated
Deaf ppl are skilled in looking at an arrangement of objects in a scene
Cog neuroscience—examined whether ppl use their motor corte when the imagine themselves rotating one of the geometric figures
oParticipants who originally rotated the original figures with their hands now showed activity in their primary motor cortex
oPpl who only watched something turn the object had no activity
oWhen ppl received the instruction to rotate that figure, their right frontal lobes and their parietal lobes were strongly
activated—change in wording can make difference in way brain responds
oResearch on mental rotation has implications for ppl with stroke—by watching the rotation of virtual reality figures these
ppl can provide stimulation to their motor cortex
The Imagery Debate
A controversy in cog psych has focused on mental imagery. Specifically whether info is stored in picture like analog codes or
language like propositional codes. Research on the characteristics of mental images address this issue
Kosslyn use the term imagery debate—refers to the important issue: do our mental images resemble perception (analog) or do they
resemble language (propositional code)
Analog (analogy) code—a representation that closely resembles the physical object. according to this approach, mental imagery is a
close relative of perception
oppl fail to notice precise visual details when they look at an object and therefore these details are also missing from their
mental image
othen you look at a triangle, the physical features of that triangle are registered in a form that preserves the physical
relationship among the three lines
oneuroimaging provides lots of evidence—the primary visual cortex is activate when ppl work on tasks that require detailed
visual imagery—same part of cortex activated when we perceive actual visual objects
oAccording to neuroscience research, visual imagery activates 70=90% of the same brain regions that are activated during
visual perception. Furthermore, ppl with prosopagnosia cannot recognize human faces visually, and they also cannot
create a mental image of a face
propositional code—is an abstract, language-like representation; storage is neither visual nor spatial, and it does not physically
resemble the original stimulus
omental imagery is a close relative of language, not perception
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