Working Memory and the Vividness of Imagery


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Abstract

The working memory framework was used to investigate the factors determining the phenomenological vividness of images. Participants rated the vividness of visual or auditory images under control conditions or while performing tasks that differentially disrupted the visuospatial sketchpad and phonological loop subsystems of working memory. In Experiments 1, 2, and 6, participants imaged recently presented novel visual patterns and sequences of tones; ratings of vividness showed the predicted interaction between stimulus modality and concurrent task. The images in experiments 3, 4, 5, and 6 were based on long-term memory (LTM). They also showed an image modality by task interaction, with a clear effect of LTM variables (meaningfulness, activity, bizarreness, and stimulus familiarity), implicating both working memory and LTM in the experience of vividness.

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