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This chapter examines mental imagery and how we invoke mental pictures or sounds in order to remember and think. Paivio postulated the dual-coding theory, which argues that images can be represented by both verbal and non-verbal systems. Logogens are the units that are part of the first system, and imagens comprise the latter. Furthermore, Paivio maintained that words that produce a mental image have concreteness. He was also in favour of the theory that the right hemisphere controls imagery and that the left hemisphere is responsible for verbal representation. This view was later challenged by fMRI studies that used lexical decision tasks. Imagery has also been used as a mnemonic technique, by employing the method of loci (using bizarre images of objects placed in familiar places), for instance. Distinctiveness has been strongly related to imagery. It has long been found that the most bizarre or distinctive items in a set of common items are better remembered (von Restorff effect). Furthermore, people can use the special places strategy, however, seeing as it relies solely on distinctiveness, it is a less reliable aid to memory. In this case, it is a failure of metamemory to realize the strategy is flawed. A peculiar aspect of psychology is when people experience normally separate senses as one. This is referred to as synaesthesia. The most common form of synaesthesia is coloured hearing (chromaesthesia). The cue that brings on such experiences is called an inducer and the response to it is named the concurrent. A modern neurobiological explanation of such phenomena is that what starts out as transient connections in the brain become permanent when a process called apoptosis fails to eliminate improper connections. People who experience chromaesthesia are deemed strong synaesthetes. However, even if individuals are not strong synaesthetes, they might still show similar cross-modal effects. In fact, most people are weak synaesthetes. Furthermore, an icon is ‘a snapshot of the information contained in a visual stimulus’. Similar to iconic imagery, eidetic imagery also persists after the removal of the stimulus, however it stays longer than an icon does. Both eidetic imagery and synaesthesia are examples of cognitive dedifferentiations. Although it is possible that everyone may possess eidetic imagery to a certain extent, people view ordinary visual memory images differently in their vividness of visual imagery.
in which Tolman proposed that behaviour is determined by cognitive maps. there are egocentric perspective transformations. where people imagine themselves moving in a mental environment. Images can also be used as anticipations. Furthermore. Key Concepts Analog form of representation Apoptosis Bizarre imagery Categorical distance Chromaesthesia Cognitive dedifferentiation Cognitive map (Tolman) relationships. people have mental models for many situations. One theory is called propositional knowledge. they can also use path integration. The hypothesis that a mental image embodies the essential relationships of the thing it represents. persons. it was found that objective distance is preserved in people’s mental images. they can show emergent properties whilst being constructed. rooms in a building. felt. .’ Concreteness The degree to which a word refers to ‘concrete objects. Finally. Although there has been a great deal of research on imagery. cognitive-like map . For example. indicating routes and paths and environmental 2 . . It has often been maintained that imagery is an analog form of representation. . the spatial framework that people view themselves in has one vertical and two horizontal dimensions. participants use mental rotation to conclude whether or not two objects are the same. people can imagine whole objects that move. Information from the environment is ‘worked over and elaborated .In addition to perceiving images. By adopting this technique. In contrast to mental rotation. into a tentative. or counties in a state. Programmed pruning of neurons. It was then argued that categorical distance was another important factor that contributes to the time it takes to scan through a mental image. The hypothesis that bizarre images facilitate recall. landmarks on an island map. Another view is that people use an egocentric frame of reference to orient themselves. Coloured hearing. Moreover. Overall. there is some debate regarding the nature of the representation of knowledge. For example. or tasted’. Perceptual processes that typically function independently are fused instead. . or things that can be heard. smelled. The number of units traversed during mental scanning. places.
The right hemisphere has the advantage in such non-verbal tasks as face identification and discrimination. Emergent properties Icon The initial. is removed. Imagens (Paivio) Images as anticipations Inducers and concurrents Left and right hemispheres The units containing the information that generates the mental images that make up the non-verbal system. and memory for faces and spatial patterns. while the objects in the environment remain still. Images projected onto the external world that persist for a minute or more even after a stimulus. The cue that elicits a synaesthetic experience is called an inducer. brief representation of the information contained in a visual stimulus.’ 3 . the easier it is to recall. such as a picture. and the synaesthetic response itself is called the concurrent. The theory that ‘the left hemisphere of most people controls speech and is more efficient than the right hemisphere at processing verbal material in such tasks as perceptual recognition.Cross-modal effects Distinctiveness Dual-coding theory (Paivio) The ability to appreciate that the sensations of one modality can be similar to those of another modality. The hypothesis that the more distinctive the item. New properties that emerge when a mental image is constructed. recognition of nonverbal sounds. The theory that verbal and non-verbal systems are alternative ways of representing events. The hypothesis that an image is a readiness to perceive something. Egocentric frame People use information available from their current of reference perspective to orient themselves. and comprehension. Egocentric perspective transformations Eidetic imagery You imagine yourself moving. episodic memory.
Lexical decision task Participants must indicate whether each stimulus is a word or not.. a colour). a sound) producing a concurrent image in another sensory modality (e. An imaginary space with one vertical (above-below) and two horizontal dimensions (ahead-behind and left-right). People who are susceptible to an inducer in one sensory modality (e..g.g... The true distances between objects in the real world are preserved in our mental images. but that others will be unable to discover. The hypothesis that knowledge about the world is stored in memory in the form of propositions. The power of the stimulus appropriate to one sense (e. Procedures used to aid memory. i. One’s position in relation to an important location is continuously updated as one moves through the environment. on the basis of which they draw conclusions. a sound) to arouse an experience appropriate to another sense (e. A mnemonic technique based on places and images. Mental rotation (Shepard) Metamemory Method of loci Mnemonic techniques Objective distances Path integration Propositional knowledge Spatial framework Special places strategy Strong synaesthetes Synaesthesia 4 . Mental models (Johnson-Laird) The theory that people construct a mental model of the situation to which a set of premises refers.e. People try to put items in places that they can easily remember.g. a colour). Logogens (Paivio) The units containing the information underlying our use of a word. The name for our beliefs about how memory works.. The ability to imagine an object in motion and view it from different perspectives.g. representations of situations that enable us to understand and reason about them.
They contain information that generates mental images. Briefly describe the von Restorff effect. What are mnemonic techniques? Give one example. How are synaesthesia and eidetic imagery related? 9. Briefly describe the dual-coding theory. lively. (p. People who can appreciate cross-modal associations. What evidence is there for the involvement of the hippocampus in cognitive maps? Answers 1. What are logogens and imagens. without having strong synaesthetic experiences. 196) 2. If one item in a set is different from the others then it will be more likely to be recalled. What is eidetic imagery and how it is different from iconic imagery? 8. What is the difference between mental rotations and mental scanning? 10. and what kind of information do they represent? 3. Define synaesthesia. Logogens are units that compromise the verbal system. (p.196) 5 . On what qualities do mnemonic techniques rely in order make an item more memorable? 5. 6. They contain information underlying our use of a word. 2.Vividness of visual imagery Von Restorff effect Weak synaesthetes The degree to which images are clear. Review Questions 1. 7. Imagens are units that make up the non-verbal system. The dual-coding theory postulates the existence of verbal and nonverbal systems that are alternative ways of representing events. Why are concrete words generally easier to recall than abstract words? 4. and resemble an actual percept.
Synaesthesia entails the dedifferentiation of sense modalities. Mental scanning is mentally traversing a cognitive map that contains spatial relationships among objects. A mnemonic technique is a procedure used to aid memory. and eidetic imagery entails the dedifferentiation of imagery and perception. (p. (p. 204) 7. Their posterior hippocampus was found to be especially large. (pp. 207) 8. and/or landmarks. a colour) to arouse an experience appropriate to another sense (e. Synaesthesia is the power of the stimulus appropriate to one sense (e. on the other hand.. 200–202) 5. The von Restorff effect describes the phenomenon that bizarre items are memorable when they occur together with common items because bizarre items are more distinctive in relation to common items.3. Both synaesthesia and eidetic imagery are examples of cognitive dedifferentiation. London cab drivers are known to have uncommonly detailed and complex cognitive maps. 199) 4. can be coded by either verbal or non-verbal systems.g. The method of loci is an example. places. particularly of the streets of London. Mnemonic techniques often rely on mental imagery that is distinctive (even bizarre) as well as humorous. which is extremely brief. 202) 6. a sound). (p. 209– 214) 10. Concrete words. (p. 207) 9. (p. these words are more easily recalled. eidetic imagery can persist for extended periods of up to a minute or more. Abstract words can only be encoded by verbal systems and thus are not readily available for imagery. 223–224) 6 .. Like iconic imagery.g. (pp. Unlike iconic imagery. The enlargement of the hippocampus is thought to be the result of storing the immense cognitive map needed to be a taxi driver in London. (pp. eidetic imagery is the mental representation of a visual image that persists even after the stimulus is removed. Since the non-verbal system can be used to support imagery. Mental rotation is the rotation of the mental representation of an object.
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