Memory & Cognition

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 540-545

First online:

Imaging while reading text: A study of individual differences

  • Michel DenisAffiliated withLaboratoire de Psychologie , E.R.A. au C.N.R.S. No. 235, Université de Paris VIII


In a series of four experiments, reading time of texts and memory for their informational content were studied in relation to readers’ imagery abilities. The main prediction was that if high imagers (HIs) tend to elaborate images expressing the semantic content of the text while reading, then they should require more time to read imageable material than low imagers (LIs). And in fact, when subjects read a descriptive/narrative text, HIs not only read more slowly, but remembered the text better than LIs. In contrast, when subjects read abstract, nonimageable material, there was no difference between the two groups in reading times or memory. Additional experiments provided further support for the claim that HIs spent more time elaborating images while they read descriptive/narrative text.