The Japanese Journal of Mental Imagery
Online ISSN : 2434-3595
Print ISSN : 1349-1903
Individual Differences in Imagery Ability and Cognition
: A Review of Researches.
Takao Hatakeyama
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2019 Volume 16 Issue 1 Pages 1-37

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Abstract

This paper surveys research which investigated how imagery abilities measured by subjective imagery tests predicted cognitive tasks or situations in the areas of physiology, perception, learning/memory, recall, thinking, and social processes, and summarizes findings and makes comments in each area or theme. As a result, the main focus is on areas of perception and learning/memory. Positive relationships with imagery tests are abundantly revealed, and we can see situations where findings supporting the predictive effects of the tests have been considerably accumulated. Although vividness has been treated in many researches, controllability, preference(imagery  type) and absorption have been also approached, and shows that each test demonstrates many predictions. Among them, basic characteristics of imagery, such as the characteristics at time of receiving stimuli, functional equivalency of imagery to perception, amount of information of images, rapidity of generations of images, are mainly responsible for vividness. In the area of learning/memory, such factors as the complexity of materials and difficulty of processing, whether learning is intentional or incidental, and applicability of strategies other than imagery strategies, are decisively important. The effects of the controllability measured by the TVIC extend beyond an imagery characteristic to cognitive/adaptive flexibility. Various predictive effects shown by the subjective imagery tests clearly prove that imagery plays practical functions that are not limited to mere subjective phenomena. It is claimed that they provide one answer to the previous controversy on the validity of subjective imagery tests and also to the imagery debate on the nature of imagery. The review comes to the conclusion that imagery has multifaceted phenomenality and functionality, and subjective tests reflect functional differences in cognitive processes according to the characteristics of each test. It is proposed that research of individual imagery differences stands on the stage where the mechanisms of imagery abilities should be an issue.

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© 2019 The Japanese Imagery Association
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