Measuring the size of mental images

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Abstract

Mental images seem to have a size; the experimental problem was to map that image size onto a scale of physical measurement. To this end, 2 experiments were conducted with 66 college students to measure the size of mental images in degrees of visual angle. In Exp I, Ss employed light pointers to indicate the horizontal extent of projected mental images of words (the letter string, not the referent). Imagined words covered about 1.0| of visual angle per letter. In Exp III, a more objective eye-movement response was used to measure the visual angle size of imagined letter strings. Visual angle of eye movement was found to increase regularly as the letter distance between the fixation point and a probed letter position increased. Each letter occupied about 2.5| of visual angle for the 4-letter strings in the control/default size condition. Possible relations between eye movements and images are discussed. (23 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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