Visual Mental Imagery System: How We Image the World

A special issue of Vision (ISSN 2411-5150).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2024 | Viewed by 5986

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Independent Researcher, 13200 Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Interests: cognitive psychology; consciousness; mental imagery; health psychology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of the Special Issue is to provide new perspectives on the role of visual mental imagery in how we image the world, both present and future. The Special Issue will comprise research articles from across the spectrum of relevant empirical sciences. We are interested in the role of visual and mental imagery in cognition, imagination and action, directed towards the present or anticipated states of the external world. The Special Issue is expected to enhance our understanding of how human beings image the world with self-awareness in relation to the challenging and changing external environment. Within this theme, there is scope for studies addressing individual differences, phenomenology, imagination, creativity, artistic expression, forecasting, and futures studies. Articles are welcome from authors working in any of the following fields: neuroscience, neuroimaging, vision, cognitive psychology, psychophysiology, creativity research, individual differences, futurology, and consciousness studies.

For inquiries, please contact the Special Issue Editor, David F Marks, PhD at: dfmarksphd@gmail.com

Dr. David F. Marks
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Vision is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • visual mental imagery
  • imaging
  • imagination
  • brain
  • mind
  • consciousness
  • self
  • creativity
  • schemata
  • internal model

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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22 pages, 8733 KiB  
Article
The Neural Basis of a Cognitive Function That Suppresses the Generation of Mental Imagery: Evidence from a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study
by Hiroki Motoyama and Shinsuke Hishitani
Vision 2024, 8(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/vision8020018 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 961
Abstract
This study elucidated the brain regions associated with the perception-driven suppression of mental imagery generation by comparing brain activation in a picture observation condition with that in a positive imagery generation condition. The assumption was that mental imagery generation would be suppressed in [...] Read more.
This study elucidated the brain regions associated with the perception-driven suppression of mental imagery generation by comparing brain activation in a picture observation condition with that in a positive imagery generation condition. The assumption was that mental imagery generation would be suppressed in the former condition but not in the latter. The results show significant activation of the left posterior cingulate gyrus (PCgG) in the former condition compared to in the latter condition. This finding is generally consistent with a previous study showing that the left PCgG suppresses mental imagery generation. Furthermore, correlational analyses showed a significant correlation between the activation of the left PCgG and participants’ subjective richness ratings, which are a measure of the clarity of a presented picture. Increased activity in the PCgG makes it more difficult to generate mental imagery. As visual perceptual processing and visual imagery generation are in competition, the suppression of mental imagery generation leads to enhanced visual perceptual processing. In other words, the greater the suppression of mental imagery, the clearer the presented pictures are perceived. The significant correlation found is consistent with this idea. The current results and previous studies suggest that the left PCgG plays a role in suppressing the generation of mental imagery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Mental Imagery System: How We Image the World)
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19 pages, 311 KiB  
Article
Associations between Autistic-like Traits and Imagery Ability
by Takao Hatakeyama
Vision 2024, 8(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/vision8010013 - 12 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1279
Abstract
This article examines empirical associations between qualities of the imagination, mental imagery, and cognitive abilities with special reference to autism. This study is the first to explore the empirical relationships between autistic-like traits and tests of imagery differences. Imaginative impairments and distinctive sensory [...] Read more.
This article examines empirical associations between qualities of the imagination, mental imagery, and cognitive abilities with special reference to autism. This study is the first to explore the empirical relationships between autistic-like traits and tests of imagery differences. Imaginative impairments and distinctive sensory characteristics in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) should be reflected in their interactions with mental imagery. However, the relationship between ASD and imaging traits remains unclear. Based on the hypothesis that the degree of autistic-like traits is reflected in imagery traits, this study examined how the individual Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) relates to imagery ability in 250 college students. Two vividness tests and one imagery-type test were used to assess imagery ability. Scores in each imagery test were compared between the high-scoring group classified by the AQ and the rest of the participants and between the low-scoring group classified by the AQ and the other participants. This study also directly compared imagery test scores between the high- and low-scoring groups. In terms of the total AQ score, the high-scoring group exhibited lower visualization scores. Regarding AQ subscales, “imagination” had the most extensive relationship with imagery traits, with the high-scoring group (unimaginative) showing lower imagery vividness across various modalities as well as lower visualization and verbalization scores. This was followed by the “attention to detail” subscale, on which the high-scoring group (attentive to detail) showed higher vividness of visual imagery. The results of the low-scoring group exhibited, on the whole, opposite imagery tendencies to the high-scoring group. The results indicate that autistic-like traits are associated with qualities of the imagination and especially mental imagery ability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Mental Imagery System: How We Image the World)

Review

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8 pages, 491 KiB  
Review
Uncovering the Role of the Early Visual Cortex in Visual Mental Imagery
by Nadine Dijkstra
Vision 2024, 8(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/vision8020029 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 907
Abstract
The question of whether the early visual cortex (EVC) is involved in visual mental imagery remains a topic of debate. In this paper, I propose that the inconsistency in findings can be explained by the unique challenges associated with investigating EVC activity during [...] Read more.
The question of whether the early visual cortex (EVC) is involved in visual mental imagery remains a topic of debate. In this paper, I propose that the inconsistency in findings can be explained by the unique challenges associated with investigating EVC activity during imagery. During perception, the EVC processes low-level features, which means that activity is highly sensitive to variation in visual details. If the EVC has the same role during visual mental imagery, any change in the visual details of the mental image would lead to corresponding changes in EVC activity. Within this context, the question should not be whether the EVC is ‘active’ during imagery but how its activity relates to specific imagery properties. Studies using methods that are sensitive to variation in low-level features reveal that imagery can recruit the EVC in similar ways as perception. However, not all mental images contain a high level of visual details. Therefore, I end by considering a more nuanced view, which states that imagery can recruit the EVC, but that does not mean that it always does so. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Mental Imagery System: How We Image the World)
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27 pages, 7730 KiB  
Review
Phenomenological Studies of Visual Mental Imagery: A Review and Synthesis of Historical Datasets
by David F. Marks
Vision 2023, 7(4), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/vision7040067 - 20 Oct 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2009
Abstract
This article reviews historically significant phenomenological studies of visual mental imagery (VMI), starting with Fechner in 1860 and continuing to the present. This synthesis of diverse VMI phenomenological studies in healthy adults serves as a unique resource for investigators of individual differences, cognitive [...] Read more.
This article reviews historically significant phenomenological studies of visual mental imagery (VMI), starting with Fechner in 1860 and continuing to the present. This synthesis of diverse VMI phenomenological studies in healthy adults serves as a unique resource for investigators of individual differences, cognitive development and clinical and neurological conditions. The review focuses on two kinds of VMI, “memory imagery” and “eidetic imagery”. Ten primary studies are drawn from three periods of the scholarly literature: early (1860–1929), middle (1930–1999) and recent (2000–2023). It is concluded that memory and eidetic imagery are two forms of constructive imagery, varying along a continuum of intensity or vividness. Vividness is a combination of clarity, colourfulness and liveliness, where clarity is defined by brightness and sharpness, colourfulness by image saturation and liveliness by vivacity, animation, feeling, solidity, projection and metamorphosis. The findings are integrated in a template that specifies, as a tree-like structure, the 16 properties of VMI vividness in healthy adult humans. The template takes into account the weight of evidence drawn from the accounts and reveals an extraordinary degree of consistency in reported VMI characteristics, revealed by specialized studies of healthy adult humans across time, space and culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Mental Imagery System: How We Image the World)
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