Mental Imagery

Visual mental imagery, "seeing with the mind's eye" (Kosslyn, 2006), is when we "see" an event, an object, or a scene in our mind in the absence of immediate sensory input. We adults use mental imagery ubiquitously. For example, we use imagery in order to think of how we would look like if we lost 5 kilograms, whether we can fit the car in the parking space, or whether the ears of an African elephant are larger than those of an Indian elephant, etc... Little is known how and if children spontaneously use mental imagery in everyday life as we adults do. How does a child use imagery when s/he thinks about how many books can fit into the school bag or the way to school?

Together with Liz Robinson (University of Warwick) and Martin Doherty (University of Stirling) I currently look at whether children use mental imagery spontaneously to retrieve information and how children's mental imagery abilities differ from adults'. This research will help us to better understand how children visualise scenes, objects, or events in their mind and how this differs from adults.

Mental Imagery