Vividness of mental imagery: Individual variability can be measured objectively

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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.

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