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Mental image

Concept of Mental Imagery: – The minds eye concept was mentioned by Cicero and first referenced in English by Chaucer. – It allows individuals to […]

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Concept of Mental Imagery:
– The minds eye concept was mentioned by Cicero and first referenced in English by Chaucer.
– It allows individuals to ‘see’ mentally, even if blind, and helps in directing thoughts towards familiar objects.
– Some individuals experience colorful, dynamic mental imagery.
– Mental imagery can involve auditory, olfactory, and visual experiences, with visual mental imagery being the most studied form.
– Aphantasia is the condition where a person lacks mental imagery.

Neural Basis and Substrates:
– Studies using fMRI have shown activation in specific brain areas during mental imagery tasks.
– Brain structures like the hippocampus and primary visual cortex are linked to visual mental imagery.
– Damage to the thalamus can result in perceptual damage.
– Experts of mental imagery have more gray matter compared to novices in specific forms of imagery.
– Neural substrates of visual imagery overlap with those of visual perception.

Theories and Philosophical Perspectives:
– Dual-code theory, propositional theory, and functional-equivalency hypothesis explain mental image formation.
– Mental imagery is believed to play a crucial role in memory and thinking.
– Mental images are central to the study of knowledge in philosophical ideas.
– Critics question how inner perception of mental images occurs in scientific realism.
– Cognitive psychologists study how the brain uses mental imagery in cognition.

Varieties and Effects of Mental Imagery:
– Mental imagery can sometimes mimic the effects of actual experiences.
– Hallucinogenic drugs can enhance access to mental imagery.
– The pineal gland has been hypothesized to produce internal visuals during near-death experiences.
– Mental imagery aids prayer and meditation in various religious traditions.
– Imagined experiences have evidentiary value and can have substitution effects similar to real experiences.

Neuroimaging Studies and Research:
– Neuroimaging studies by various researchers have explored the neurological aspects of mental imagery.
– Studies have linked specific brain areas to visual imagery and object-related mental imagery.
– Researchers have contributed to understanding the dynamics, networks, and cortical representations involved in mental imagery.
– Historical perspectives from researchers have influenced mental imagery studies, providing insights from neuropsychology and cognitive psychology.
– Findings from various studies contribute to understanding visual and perceptual aspects of mental imagery.

Mental image (Wikipedia)

In the philosophy of mind, neuroscience, and cognitive science, a mental image is an experience that, on most occasions, significantly resembles the experience of "perceiving" some object, event, or scene but occurs when the relevant object, event, or scene is not actually present to the senses. There are sometimes episodes, particularly on falling asleep (hypnagogic imagery) and waking up (hypnopompic imagery), when the mental imagery may be dynamic, phantasmagoric, and involuntary in character, repeatedly presenting identifiable objects or actions, spilling over from waking events, or defying perception, presenting a kaleidoscopic field, in which no distinct object can be discerned. Mental imagery can sometimes produce the same effects as would be produced by the behavior or experience imagined.

The nature of these experiences, what makes them possible, and their function (if any) have long been subjects of research and controversy in philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, and, more recently, neuroscience. As contemporary researchers use the expression, mental images or imagery can comprise information from any source of sensory input; one may experience auditory images, olfactory images, and so forth. However, the majority of philosophical and scientific investigations of the topic focus on visual mental imagery. It has sometimes been assumed that, like humans, some types of animals are capable of experiencing mental images. Due to the fundamentally introspective (reflective) nature of the phenomenon, it has been difficult to assess whether or not non-human animals experience mental imagery.

Philosophers such as George Berkeley and David Hume, and early experimental psychologists such as Wilhelm Wundt and William James, understood ideas in general to be mental images. Today, it is very widely believed that much imagery functions as mental representations (or mental models), playing an important role in memory and thinking. William Brant (2013, p. 12) traces the scientific use of the phrase "mental images" back to John Tyndall's 1870 speech called the "Scientific Use of the Imagination". Some have suggested that images are best understood to be, by definition, a form of inner, mental, or neural representation. Others reject the view that the image experience may be identical with (or directly caused by) any such representation in the mind or the brain, but do not take account of the non-representational forms of imagery.

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