Converging operations and reported mediators in the investigation of mental imagery

Richardson, John T. E. (1985). Converging operations and reported mediators in the investigation of mental imagery. British Journal of Psychology, 76(2) pp. 205–214.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8295.1985.tb01944.x

Abstract

The role of mental imagery in human cognition and memory has been studied by means of a variety of experimental procedures. However, it is frequently not possible to make unambiguous predictions concerning the interactions among these procedures, and it is thus unclear whether they can be said to ‘converge’ upon a single theoretical construct. This problem can be resolved by means of the systematic collection of subjects' reports, which provide a crucial additional source of evidence on the availability and efficacy of imaginal mediators in cognitive tasks. Two experiments studied mediator reports in paired-associate learning, and it was concluded: that imagery instructions enhance the availability of imaginal mediators rather than their efficacy; that stimulus concreteness enhances both the availability and the efficacy of such mediators; that mental imagery is not an effective mediating device in the case of abstract material; that imagery instructions enhance the availability of imaginal mediators in the case of both concrete and abstract material; but that such instructions may depress the recall of items which fail to produce imaginal mediators.

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