Cognition
Chapter 7
Mental Imagery and
Cognitive Maps
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Introduction
imagery
mental maps
top-down processing
relevance to cognitive psychology
professions
visual imagery vs. auditory, olfactory, touch, and taste
imagery
Wundt vs. behaviorists vs. modern cognitive
psychology
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
not directly observable
fade quickly
Imagery debate
perception vs. language
analog code (depictive representation/pictorial representation)
vs. propositional code (descriptive representation)
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
studying mental imagery—if a mental image
resembles a physical object, then people must make
judgments about a mental image in the same way that
they make judgments about the corresponding
physical object
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Rotation
Shepard and Metzler's Research
same/different task using pairs of line drawings
images
two- vs. three-dimensions
reaction time to decide same/different
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Rotation
decision time influenced by the amount of rotation
required to match the figures
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Rotation
decision time
influenced by
the amount
of rotation
required to
match the
figures
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Mental Rotation
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Rotation
Recent Research on Mental Rotation
other stimuli
age
practice
ASL
support for the analog coding approach
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Distance
Stephen Kosslyn
time to scan the distance between two points in a
mental image
experimenter expectancy
distance in auditory images
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Imagery and Distance
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KMCC Mall
Bowling Center
Commissary
Enlisted Club
Post
Office/North
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Center
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Shape
Paivio (1978)
hands on imaginary clock
high-imagery vs. low-imagery participants
Shepard and Chipman (1970)
more complex shapes
U.S. states
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Conclusions About The Characteristics of
Mental Images (so far)
1. When people rotate a mental image, a large
rotation takes them longer, just as they take longer
when making a large rotation with a physical
stimulus.
2. People make distance judgments in a similar
fashion for mental images and physical stimuli; this
conclusion holds true for both visual and auditory
images.
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Conclusions About The Characteristics of
Mental Images (so far)
3. People make decisions about shape in a similar
fashion for mental images and physical stimuli; this
conclusion holds true for both simple shapes
(angles formed by hands on a clock) and complex
shapes (geographic regions, like Colorado or West
Virginia).
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Interference
Visual and Auditory Imagery
visual imagery can interfere with visual perception
auditory imagery can interfere with auditory perception
Segal and Fusella (1970)
create visual or auditory image
detect physical stimulus
people had more problems detecting the physical stimulus
when the image and the signal were in the same sensory
mode
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Interference
Visual and Auditory Imagery
Mast and colleagues (1999)
imagined lines and real lines produced similar distortions in
participants' judgments about the orientation of the line
segment
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Interference
Motor Imagery
Wexler and colleagues (1998)
joy-stick task involving rotation clockwise or counterclockwise
view geometric figure and imagine rotating it clockwise or
counterclockwise
judge second figure as same or different
judgments slower when the motor movement was opposite to
the mental image
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Motor Imagery
Figure 7.3 Reaction Time, as a Function of the Amount of Mental Rotation and
Whether the Mental Rotation Was in the Same Direction as the Hand Movement
or in the Opposite Direction
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Interference
Motor Imagery
Wohlschläger (2001)
simply planning a motor movement can interfere with trying
to rotate a mental image
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Ambiguous Figures
people sometimes use analog codes and sometimes
use propositional codes, when they create a mental
image of an ambiguous figure
Reed (1974)
decide whether a pattern is a portion of a design seen
earlier
chance performance indicated that people could not
have stored mental pictures
people must store these pictures as descriptions, in
propositional codes
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Imagery and Ambiguous
Figures
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Ambiguous Figures
Chambers and Reisberg (1985)
form mental image of ambiguous figure
ask participants to provide reinterpretation of
ambiguous figure
draw figure from memory
try to reinterpret physical stimulus
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Ambiguous Figures
Chambers and Reisberg (1985) (continued)
strong verbal propositional code can dominate over an
analog code
it's easy to reverse an image while you are looking at
an ambiguous physical picture, but reversing a mental
image is difficult
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Ambiguous Figures
Analog vs. Propositional codes
simple vs. complex figures
Finke and colleagues (1989)
combine mental images
identify new interpretations
locate similar, unanticipated shapes in mental images
People create mental images using both
propositional and analog codes
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Imagery and Other Vision-Like Processes
demand characteristics
Ishai and Sagi (1995)—masking effect
acuity
illusory conjunctions
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Revisiting the Imagery Controversy
The Analog Viewpoint
• create a mental image of an object that closely
resembles the actual, physical object
• responses to mental images are frequently similar
to our responses to physical objects
• majority of research supports this position
• Kosslyn and coauthors model including subsystems
like shifting attention
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Revisiting the Imagery Controversy
The Propositional Viewpoint
• mental images stored in an abstract, language-like
form that does not physically resemble the original
stimulus
• Pylyshyn
mental images not a necessary component of imagery
differences between perceptual experiences and mental
images
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Revisiting the Imagery Controversy
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May not be able to resolve controversy
Most researchers favor an analog code
For some stimuli and several specific tasks,
people may use a propositional code
Mental images and perceptual experiences
use many of the same brain structures
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Individual Differences: Gender
Comparisons in Spatial Ability
Most gender differences in cognitive abilities are
small
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Individual Differences: Gender
Comparisons in Spatial Ability
meta-analysis—a statistical method for
combining numerous studies on a single topic
effect size (d)
meta-analyses of gender differences in verbal ability
find effect sizes "close to zero" or "small"
meta-analyses of gender differences in mathematical
ability find effect sizes "close to zero"
meta-analyses of gender differences in spatial ability
find effect sizes ranging from "small" to "large"
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Meta-Analyses of
Cognitive Skills
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Individual Differences: Gender
Comparisons in Spatial Ability
Spatial ability represents several different
skills
spatial visualization ("small" gender differences)
spatial perception ("moderate" gender differences)
mental rotation ("moderate" to "large" gender
differences)
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
The Characteristics of
Mental Images
Individual Differences: Gender
Comparisons in Spatial Ability
Spatial ability represents several different
skills
mental rotation ("moderate" to "large" gender
differences) (continued)
possible biological factors
but some studies report no gender differences
effects of task instructions
effects of training
experiences with toys and sports that emphasize spatial
skills
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Neuroscience
Research on Mental Imagery
Neuroscience Research Comparing Visual
Imagery and Visual Perception
Kosslyn (2004)—a survey of the research finds
that visual imagery activates about two-thirds of
the same brain regions that are activated during
visual perception
Lesions in the visual cortex—mental-imagery
impairments resemble perceptual impairments
Brain-imaging and the primary visual cortex
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Neuroscience
Research on Mental Imagery
Neuroscience Research Comparing Visual
Imagery and Visual Perception
Similar patterns of stimulation for visual
perception and visual imagery
Different tasks activate different areas of the
brain
Primary visual cortex—inspect a mental image of a
visual image
Parietal lobe—make changes in the structure of their
visual images
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Neuroscience
Research on Mental Imagery
Neuroscience Research on Mental
Rotation Tasks
Kosslyn, Thompson and coauthors (2001)
rotate geometric figures with hands vs. watch an
electric motor rotate the figures
perform Shepard and Metzler same/different task
rotating the figures mentally
PET scan—participants who had rotated the original
geometric figure with their hands, now showed
activity in the primary motor cortex; participants
who only watched did not
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Neuroscience
Research on Mental Imagery
Neuroscience Research on Mental
Rotation Tasks
instructions to "rotate this figure" activate the
primary motor cortex and the right parietal
cortex
"rotate self" activates the left temporal lobe and a
different part of the motor cortex
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Background Information About Cognitive
Maps
cognitive map—mental representation of the
environment that surrounds us
neighborhoods, cities, countries
real-world settings
ecological validity
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Background Information About Cognitive
Maps
spatial cognition—our thoughts about spatial
issues; cognitive maps, remembering the world
we navigate, keeping track of objects in a spatial
array
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environmental psychology, computer science,
linguistics, anthropology, geography, architecture,
urban planning
our knowledge of spatial cognition includes an
enormous amount of commonsense information
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Background Information About Cognitive
Maps
individual differences quite large
cognitive maps both analog and propositional
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Background Information About Cognitive
Maps
Roskos-Ewaldsen and colleagues (1998)
survey knowledge—the relationship among locations
that you directly acquire by learning a map or by
repeatedly exploring an environment
orientation of map
judgments are easier when your mental map and the
physical map have matching orientations
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Background Information About Cognitive
Maps
Cognitive maps are generally accurate
Errors can be traced to rational strategies;
systematic distortions of reality
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive Maps and Distance
estimating the distance between two known
points
MacDonalds in Landstuhl near A6 to Globus
Use A6 _____ km
Use Kaiserstrasse through Kindsbach _____ km
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive Maps and Distance
Number of Intervening Cities
Thorndyke (1981)
study map of hypothetical region until you can reproduce it
0, 1, 2, or 3 other cities along the route between two cities
estimate the distance between specified pairs of cities
the number of intervening cities had a clear-cut influence on
estimates
"cluttered" routes seem longer
roads with complex turns seem longer than straight
roads
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive Maps and Distance
Semantic Categories
semantic factors influence distance estimates for
specific locations
Hirtle and Mascolo (1986)
learn hypothetical map of a town
estimate distance between pairs of locations
people tended to shift each location closer to other sites that
belonged to the same semantic cluster
campus and off-campus buildings
North American cities
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive Maps and Distance
Landmarks Versus Nonlandmarks as
Destinations
landmark effect—general tendency to provide shorter
estimates when traveling to a landmark, rather than a
nonlandmark
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive Maps and Distance
Landmarks Versus Nonlandmarks as
Destinations
McNamara and Diwadker (1997)
memorize map containing pictures of objects
some objects described as landmarks, others not
estimate distance between various pairs of objects
asymmetry in distance estimates consistent with the
landmark effect
prominent destinations seem closer than less important
destinations
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive Maps and Shape
We tend to construct cognitive maps in which
the shapes are more regular than they are in
reality.
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive Maps and Shape
Angles
Moar and Bower (1983)
cognitive maps of Cambridge, England
estimates for the angles formed by the intersection of two
streets
tendency to "regularize" the angles so that they were more
like 90 degree angles
heuristic—general problem-solving strategy
degree-angle heuristic—represent angles on a map
as being closer to 90 degrees than they really are
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive Maps and Shape
Curves
symmetry heuristic—we remember figures as being
more symmetrical and regular than they truly are
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive Maps and Relative Position
Stevens and Coupe (1978)—east/west and
north/south judgments of cities
Tversky—we use heuristics when we represent
relative positions in our mental maps
The Rotation Heuristic & The Alignment Heuristic
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive Maps and Relative Position
The Rotation Heuristic
rotation heuristic—we remember a tilted geographic
structure as being either more vertical or more
horizontal than it really is
California; U.S./Canada border
Tversky (1981)
mental maps for San Francisco Bay area
69% of students showed evidence of the rotation heuristic
cross-cultural evidence
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Rotation Heuristic
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive Maps and Relative Position
The Alignment Heuristic
alignment heuristic—we remember geographic
structures as being arranged in a straighter line than
they really are
Tversky (1981)
pairs of cities
which city is north (or east) of the other?
many students showed a consistent tendency to use the
alignment heuristic
especially for northern cities in North America compared to
southern cities in Europe
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Alignment Heuristic
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive Maps and Relative Position
Heuristics make sense, but can cause us to
miss important details and fail to pay
attention to bottom-up information.
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
In Depth: Creating Cognitive Maps
creating a cognitive map from descriptions or
directions
similar to maps created from looking at a scene
integrate information from separate statements
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
In Depth: Creating Cognitive Maps
Franklin and Tversky's Research
verbal descriptions of ten different scenes
five objects
imagine facing one of the objects; specify which object
located in each of several directions
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
In Depth: Creating Cognitive Maps
Franklin and Tversky's Research (continued)
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response times to answer which objects were
above and below were short
people required longer to decide which objects
were ahead or behind
even longer to decide which objects were to the
right or to the left
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
In Depth: Creating Cognitive Maps
The Spatial Framework Model
spatial framework model—emphasizes that the
above-below spatial dimension is especially important
in our thinking, the front-back dimension is moderately
important, and the right-left dimension is least
important
1. The vertical dimension is correlated with gravity
2. The vertical dimension on an upright human’s body is
physically asymmetric.
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
In Depth: Creating Cognitive Maps
The Spatial Framework Model (continued)
Our cognitive maps reveal certain biases based on
our long-term interactions with our bodies and with the
physical properties of the external world.
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
Cognitive Maps
In Depth: Creating Cognitive Maps
Further Research on Creating Cognitive
Maps
second person vs. third person descriptions
Bryant, Tversky and Franklin (1992)—readers typically
prefer to adopt the perspective of the observer
rather than remaining outside the scene
cognitive maps derived from descriptions represent:
orientation, point of view, landmarks, and distance
Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin
Chapter 7
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Matlin, Cognition, 7e, Chapter 7: Mental Imagery and Cognitive Maps