Visual Mental Imagery and the Average Subject Essay

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The enduring differences between individuals are an intriguing subject area in modern psychology. An interest in examining how people differ in their thinking, feeling and behaviour has developed over time. Even over 2000 years ago, Plato stated “No two persons are born exactly alike; but each differs from the other in natural endowments, one being suited for one occupation and the other for another”.
Moving forward in time to 1984, Shackleton and Fletcher pointed out that within the study of scientific psychology of human behaviour, individual differences can easily get lost and brushed off as noise to data. Much of previous research has been concerned with the general processes of the ‘normal’ population such as learning,
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The next section will introduce VMI with a definition and a brief history, however, because it is not the main focus of the essay it will be kept very concise. A detailed review of the debate of visual mental imagery over the centuries can be found by Kosslyn, Thompson and Ganis (2006), Phylyshyn (2002) also gathers a plethora of theories in mental imagery.

Visual Mental Imagery – The Big Picture in brief
Insert Example of VMI. Mental Imagery is a familiar feature of everyday life that most people experience, even though some people report not doing so (e.g. Farah et al. 1984, 1988). Kosslyn, Ganis and Thompson (2009) refer to the idea that imagery is the experience of ‘seeing with the mind’s eye’. ‘Imagery’ invites people to simulate what they think would happen if they were looking at the actual event. It is believed to play a role in visuospatial reasoning, memory and creative thought, for instance evaluating options, reconstructing past perceptual events and anticipating future desired or feared experiences (Tversky, 2004; Pearson, 2007).
The interest in mental imagery once again dates back to the time of Plato who speculated that mental images are formed from memories, and that images are carved into the mind just like pictures can be carved on a wax tablet (as cited in Kosslyn, Behrmann & Jeannerod, 1995). He even likened individual differences to the purity of the
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