Unit 4 Lesson 7 - Unit 4 Lesson 7 Study Guide Lesson 7...

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Unit 4 Lesson 7 Study Guide Lesson 7: Mental Imagery and Cognitive Maps Overview Although the term spatial cognition is introduced midway through the chapter, the study of visual imagery clearly falls within its domain. Imagery, or the ability to imagine mental events and objects, is an extremely practical mental ability, even though people differ in their imagery ability. Unfortunately, the subjective nature of imagery makes it extremely difficult to study empirically. Nevertheless, Shepard and Metzler’s work on mental rotation in the early ‘70s started a line of important research that continues today. Shepard and Metzler (1971) were among the first to demonstrate that the manner in which people are able to manipulate images in their minds is often similar to how they would manipulate the objects in the real world. Based on this and other findings, researchers suggested that the image was coded or represented in analog form (i.e., a form that closely resembles the physical object). Others suggested that the image was coded in an abstract symbolic code (i.e., a form where propositions or logical statements are used to represent objects). These two positions (analog versus propositional) generated numerous studies that pitted the competing positions against each other. Leonardo da Vinci. Design for a Flying Machine . c. 1488. Wikimedia Commons. In Chapter 7, Matlin reviews the characteristics of visual imagery, the evidence for and against the different proposals, and the role of neuroscience and individual differences. As you will see, there is a growing body of evidence that links perceptual processing with imagery. She also covers auditory imagery and a parallel set of findings on imagined vs. actual auditory stimuli. In the final section, Matlin reviews the research on cognitive maps, or the mental representation of our external environment. Cognitive maps are critical to successful navigation within our environment. The study of cognitive maps in animals has a long history of study, beginning with Tolman in 1948. The study of cognitive maps in humans began more recently, in the 1980s. Matlin reviews the heuristics, or mental strategies, that are often used in forming these mental representations. These strategies often give rise to systematic biases and distortions in the construction and use of our cognitive maps. Despite the biases, our cognitive maps work generally well. Learning Objectives When you have completed Chapter 7, you should be able to achieve the following learning objectives.

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