Meta-analytic comparison of trial- versus questionnaire-based vividness reportability across behavioral, cognitive and neural measurements of imagery.
ABSTRACT: Vividness is an aspect of consciousness related to mental imagery and prospective episodic memory. Despite being harshly criticized in the past for failing to demonstrate robust correlations with behavioral measures, currently this construct is attracting a resurgent interest in cognitive neuroscience. Therefore, an updated examination of the validity of this construct is timely. A corpus of peer-reviewed literature was analyzed through meta-analysis, which compared the two main formats used to measure vividness [trial-by-trial vividness ratings (VR) and the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ)]. These two formats were compared in relation to all available behavioral/cognitive (BC) and neuroscience (NS) measures in Phase 1 (3542 statistical observations representing 393 journal articles); and then in relation to all available BC, EEG and fMRI literature in Phase 2 (3624 observations representing 402 articles). Both Phases observed significantly larger effect size estimates (ESEs) for VR than VVIQ, and larger ESEs for NS than BC measures. ESEs for EEG and fMRI were not significantly different in Phase 2, but were greater than BC ESEs. These data suggest VR are a more reliable self-report measure than VVIQ, and may reflect a more direct route of reportability than the latter. Furthermore, both VR and VVIQ are more strongly associated with the neural, than the cognitive and behavioural correlates of imagery. If one establishes neuroscience measures as the criterion variable, then self-reports of vividness show higher construct validity than behavioural/cognitive measures of imagery. We discuss how the present findings contribute to current issues on measurement of reportability; and how this study advances our understanding of vividness as a phenomenological characteristic of imagery, and other forms of conscious experience which do not necessarily involve imagery.
Project description:We explore an intensely debated problem in neuroscience, psychology and philosophy: the degree to which the "phenomenological consciousness" of the experience of a stimulus is separable from the "access consciousness" of its reportability. Specifically, it has been proposed that these two measures are dissociated from one another in one, or both directions. However, even if it was agreed that reportability and experience were doubly dissociated, the limits of dissociation logic mean we would not be able to conclusively separate the cognitive processes underlying the two. We take advantage of computational modelling and recent advances in state-trace analysis to assess this dissociation in an attentional/experiential blink paradigm. These advances in state-trace analysis make use of Bayesian statistics to quantify the evidence for and against a dissociation. Further evidence is obtained by linking our finding to a prominent model of the attentional blink - the Simultaneous Type/Serial Token model. Our results show evidence for a dissociation between experience and reportability, whereby participants appear able to encode stimuli into working memory with little, if any, conscious experience of them. This raises the possibility of a phenomenon that might be called sight-blind recall, which we discuss in the context of the current experience/reportability debate.
Project description:The aim of the study was to validate a German version of the Vividness of Movement Imagery Questionnaire 2 (VMIQ-2; Roberts, Callow, Hardy, Markland, & Bringer, 2008), which measures external visual, internal visual, and kinesthetic vividness of movement imagery. The psychometric characteristics of the German version did not differ significantly from the English version. Using confirmatory factor analyses, the three-dimensional structure of the VMIQ-2 was replicated with reasonable fit and good internal consistency. The test-retest reliability was moderate. Thus, the German version of the VMIQ-2 is a valid instrument for measuring the vividness of movement imagery.
Project description:Across three studies, we provide a proof-of-concept evaluation of an integrative psychotherapeutic application of virtual reality (VR) technology. Study 1 (n = 36) evaluated an unguided "safe-place" imagery task, where participants were instructed "to create a safe space… [such as] a scene, item, design, or any visual representation that makes you feel safe" using either the Google Tilt Brush application (VR condition), the standard Microsoft Paint application (2-D condition), or via eyes-closed mental imagery alone (IMG condition). Study 2 (n = 48) evaluated a narrative episodic recall task, where participants viewed their childhood and adult homes and places of schooling either using either the Google Earth VR application (VR condition) or the standard Google Earth application (2-D condition) or recalled these places with their eyes closed via mental imagery alone (IMG condition). Finally, Study 3 (n = 48) evaluated a guided wilderness imagery task, during which different scripts were narrated, specifically, a trail walk in autumn, a spring meadow, and a hillside walk in snowy winter, while either these same scenes were visually presented using the Nature Treks VR application (VR condition), the scenes were presented using the same software but shown on standard computer monitor (2-D condition), or participants' eyes were closed (IMG condition). Order of intervention format was randomized across participants. Across all three studies, quantitative survey ratings showed that the VR format of intervention delivery produced greater positive affect and satisfaction and perceived credibility ratings as an intervention for trauma- and stressor-related disorders and psychological well-being as rated by university students who varied in traumatic and stressful life event history and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, whereas qualitative findings revealed additional themes of experiential response including increased experience of presence and vividness in the VR condition. Future research directions and clinical applications are discussed.
Project description:When asked to imagine a visual scene, such as an ant crawling on a checkered table cloth toward a jar of jelly, individuals subjectively report different vividness in their mental visualization. We show that reported vividness can be correlated with two objective measures: the early visual cortex activity relative to the whole brain activity measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the performance on a novel psychophysical task. These results show that individual differences in the vividness of mental imagery are quantifiable even in the absence of subjective report.
Project description:The present study tested whether sport-specific implements facilitate motor imagery, whereas nonspecific implements disrupt motor imagery. We asked a group of basketball players (experts) and a group of healthy controls (novices) to physically perform (motor execution) and mentally simulate (motor imagery) basketball throws. Subjects produced motor imagery when they were holding a basketball, a volleyball, or nothing. Motor imagery performance was measured by temporal congruence, which is the correspondence between imagery and execution times estimated as (imagery time minus execution time) divided by (imagery time plus execution time), as well as the vividness of motor imagery. Results showed that experts produced greater temporal congruence and vividness of kinesthetic imagery while holding a basketball compared to when they were holding nothing, suggesting a facilitation effect from sport-specific implements. In contrast, experts produced lower temporal congruence and vividness of kinesthetic imagery while holding a volleyball compared to when they were holding nothing, suggesting the interference effect of nonspecific implements. Furthermore, we found a negative correlation between temporal congruence and the vividness of kinesthetic imagery in experts while holding a basketball. On the contrary, the implement manipulation did not modulate the temporal congruence of novices. Our findings suggest that motor representation in experts is built on motor experience associated with specific-implement use and thus was subjected to modulation of the implement held. We conclude that sport-specific implements facilitate motor imagery, whereas nonspecific implements could disrupt motor representation in experts.
Project description:Synesthesia is an atypical perceptual phenomenon that has been associated with generalized differences in other cognitive and perceptual domains. Given similarities in the qualitative nature of synesthetic experiences to visual imagery perceptions, several studies have sought to examine whether synesthetes demonstrate increased visual imagery abilities. Using subjective imagery questionnaires, some studies have identified superior imaging abilities in synesthetes, while others have not. However, because most research on synesthesia uses un-blinded group membership prior to data collection, such methods for studying group differences may be prone to participant and experimenter biases (e.g., a motivated synesthete may rate themselves as having stronger visual imagery abilities due to their own bias and perceived experimenter expectations). To address this issue, we demonstrate the feasibility of double-blind designs in synesthesia research, applied here to examine differences in subjectively reported levels of imagery usage and intensity. Prior to identifying synesthetes' and non-synesthetes' group membership (in order to eliminate the potential for bias), subjects completed two common measures of visual imagery experiences. Using this approach, we replicated findings of greater visual imagery usage in synesthetes on the Spontaneous Use of Imagery Scale (SUIS) measure, but not of enhanced imagery abilities on the standardized Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ) measure. The present study strengthens prior evidence that synesthesia is associated with heightened visual imagery and demonstrates the utility of double-blind designs in order to limit biases and promote further replicability of other findings in research on synesthesia.
Project description:Motor imagery (MI) is the mental simulation of action frequently used by professionals in different fields. However, with respect to performance, well-controlled functional imaging studies on MI training are sparse. We investigated changes in fMRI representation going along with performance changes of a finger sequence (error and velocity) after MI training in 48 healthy young volunteers. Before training, we tested the vividness of kinesthetic and visual imagery. During tests, participants were instructed to move or to imagine moving the fingers of the right hand in a specific order. During MI training, participants repeatedly imagined the sequence for 15 min. Imaging analysis was performed using a full-factorial design to assess brain changes due to imagery training. We also used regression analyses to identify those who profited from training (performance outcome and gain) with initial imagery scores (vividness) and fMRI activation magnitude during MI at pre-test (MIpre ). After training, error rate decreased and velocity increased. We combined both parameters into a common performance index. FMRI activation in the left inferior parietal lobe (IPL) was associated with MI and increased over time. In addition, fMRI activation in the right IPL during MIpre was associated with high initial kinesthetic vividness. High kinesthetic imagery vividness predicted a high performance after training. In contrast, occipital activation, associated with visual imagery strategies, showed a negative predictive value for performance. Our data echo the importance of high kinesthetic vividness for MI training outcome and consider IPL as a key area during MI and through MI training.
Project description:In the absence of other congruent multisensory motion cues, sound contribution to illusions of self-motion (vection) is relatively weak and often attributed to purely cognitive, top-down processes. The present study addressed the influence of cognitive and perceptual factors in the experience of circular, yaw auditorily-induced vection (AIV), focusing on participants imagery vividness scores. We used different rotating sound sources (acoustic landmark vs. movable types) and their filtered versions that provided different binaural cues (interaural time or level differences, ITD vs. ILD) when delivering via loudspeaker array. The significant differences in circular vection intensity showed that (1) AIV was stronger for rotating sound fields containing auditory landmarks as compared to movable sound objects; (2) ITD based acoustic cues were more instrumental than ILD based ones for horizontal AIV; and (3) individual differences in imagery vividness significantly influenced the effects of contextual and perceptual cues. While participants with high scores of kinesthetic and visual imagery were helped by vection "rich" cues, i.e., acoustic landmarks and ITD cues, the participants from the low-vivid imagery group did not benefit from these cues automatically. Only when specifically asked to use their imagination intentionally did these external cues start influencing vection sensation in a similar way to high-vivid imagers. These findings are in line with the recent fMRI work which suggested that high-vivid imagers employ automatic, almost unconscious mechanisms in imagery generation, while low-vivid imagers rely on more schematic and conscious framework. Consequently, our results provide an additional insight into the interaction between perceptual and contextual cues when experiencing purely auditorily or multisensory induced vection.
Project description:Background:In the sport context, imagery has been described as the condition in which persons imagine themselves while executing skills to deal with the upcoming task or enhance performance. Systematic reviews have shown that mental imagery improves performance in motor tasks. Methods:The aim of the present study was to explore whether imagery vividness (i.e., the clarity or realism of the imagery experience) and controllability (i.e., the ease and accuracy with which an image can be manipulated mentally) differ by sport types (team vs. individual and contact vs. non-contact). Participants were athletes from team contact and non-contact sports (rugby and volleyball, respectively), and individual contact and non-contact sports (karate and tennis, respectively) between the ages of 20 and 33 years (M = 24.37, SD = 2.85). The participants completed the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire, the Vividness of Movement Imagery Questionnaire-2, and the Mental Image Transformation Tasks. Results:A 2 ×2 × 2 (gender × 2 contact-no-contact × 2 sport type) between groups MANOVA showed differences in imagery ability by sport type. Practical indications deriving from the findings of this study can help coaches and athletes to develop mental preparation programs using sport-specific imagery.