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Memory & Cognition

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 710–726 | Cite as

Spatial versus object visualizers: A new characterization of visual cognitive style

  • Maria KozhevnikovEmail author
  • Stephen Kosslyn
  • Jennifer Shephard
Article

Abstract

The visual system processes object properties (such as shape and color) and spatial properties (such as location and spatial relations) in distinct systems, and neuropsychological evidence reveals that mental imagery respects this distinction. The findings reported in this article demonstrate that verbalizers typically perform at anintermediate level on imagery tasks, whereas visualizers can be divided into two groups. Specifically, scores on spatial and object imagery tasks, along with a visualizer-verbalizer cognitive style questionnaire, identified a group of visualizers who scored poorly on spatial imagery tasks but excelled on object imagery tasks. In contrast, a second group of visualizers scored high on spatial imagery tasks but poorly on object imagery tasks. The results also indicate that object visualizers encode and process images holistically, as a single perceptual unit, whereas spatial visualizers generate and process images analytically, part by part. In addition, we found that scientists and engineers excel in spatial imagery and prefer spatial strategies, whereas visual artists excel in object imagery and prefer object-based strategies.

Keywords

Mental Rotation Cognitive Style Object Visualizer Spatial Visualizer Mental Rotation Task 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Kozhevnikov
    • 2
    Email author
  • Stephen Kosslyn
    • 1
  • Jennifer Shephard
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard UniversityCambridge
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentRutgers UniversityNewark

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