Advertisement

Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 80, Issue 5, pp 1127–1142 | Cite as

Visual mental imagery influences attentional guidance in a visual-search task

  • Jun Moriya
Article

Abstract

Visual mental imagery resembles visual working memory (VWM). Because both visual mental imagery and VWM involve the representation and manipulation of visual information, it was hypothesized that they would exert similar effects on visual attention. Several previous studies have demonstrated that working-memory representations guide attention toward a memory-matching task-irrelevant stimulus during visual-search tasks. Therefore, mental imagery may also guide attention toward imagery-matching stimuli. In the present study, five experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of visual mental imagery on visual attention during a visual-search task. Participants were instructed to visualize a color or an object clearly associated with a specific color, after which they were asked to detect a colored target in the visual-search task. Reaction times for target detection were shorter when the color of the target matched the imagined color, and when the color of the target was similar to that strongly associated with the imagined object, than when the color of the target did not match that of the mental representation. This effect was not observed when participants were not instructed to imagine a color. These results suggest that similar to VWM, visual mental imagery guides attention toward imagery-matching stimuli.

Keywords

Attention Imagery Visual search 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The preparation of this paper was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS): Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (15K21518). No further potential, competing financial interests exist.

Compliance with ethical standards

Declaration of interest

I declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

References

  1. Albers, A. M., Kok, P., Toni, I., Dijkerman, H. C., & De Lange, F. P. (2013). Shared representations for working memory and mental imagery in early visual cortex. Current Biology. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2013.05.065
  2. Baddeley, A. D. (2003). Working memory: Looking back and looking forward. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 4(10), 829–839. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn1201 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Baddeley, A. D., & Andrade, J. (2000). Working memory and the vividness of imagery. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 129(1), 126–145. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.129.1.126 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berger, G. H., & Gaunitz, S. C. B. (1979). Self-rated imagery and encoding strategies in visual memory. British Journal of Psychology, 70(1), 21–24. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8295.1979.tb02137.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bergmann, J., Genç, E., Kohler, A., Singer, W., & Pearson, J. (2016). Neural anatomy of primary visual cortex limits visual working memory. Cerebral Cortex, 26(1), 43–50. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhu168 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bramao, I., Reis, A., Petersson, K. M., & Faisca, L. (2011). The role of color information on object recognition: A review and meta-analysis. Acta Psychologica, 138(1), 244–253. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2011.06.010 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bundesen, C., Habekost, T., & Kyllingsbaek, S. (2005). A neural theory of visual attention: Bridging cognition and neurophysiology. Psychological Review, 112(2), 291–328. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.112.2.291 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Carlisle, N. B., & Woodman, G. F. (2011). Automatic and strategic effects in the guidance of attention by working memory representations. Acta Psychologica, 137(2), 217–225. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2010.06.012 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Chang, S., Lewis, D. E., & Pearson, J. (2013). The functional effects of color perception and color imagery. Journal of Vision, 13(10), 1–10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.10.4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cichy, R. M., Heinzle, J., & Haynes, J. D. (2012). Imagery and perception share cortical representations of content and location. Cerebral Cortex, 22(2), 372–380. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhr106 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Clarke, A. D. F., Barr, C., & Hunt, A. R. (2016). The effect of visualization on visual search performance. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 78(8), 2357–2362. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-016-1174-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Connor, C. E., Egeth, H. E., & Yantis, S. (2004). Visual attention: Bottom-up versus top-down. Current Biology, 14(19), R850–R852. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2004.09.041 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Cui, X., Jeter, C. B., Yang, D., Montague, P. R., & Eagleman, D. M. (2007). Vividness of mental imagery: Individual variability can be measured objectively. Vision Research, 47(4), 474–478. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2006.11.013 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Dalvit, S., & Eimer, M. (2011). Memory-driven attentional capture is modulated by temporal task demands. Visual Cognition, 19(2), 145–153. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13506285.2010.543441 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Desimone, R., & Duncan, J. (1995). Neural mechanisms of selective visual attention. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 18(1), 193–222. doi: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ne.18.030195.001205 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A.-G., & Buchner, A. (2007). G*Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39(2), 175–191. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03193146 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Ganis, G. (2013). Visual mental imagery. In S. Lacey & R. Lawson (Eds.), Multisensory imagery (pp. 9–28). New York, NY: Springer. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5879-1_2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Greenberg, D., & Knowlton, B. (2014). The role of visual imagery in autobiographical memory. Memory & Cognition, 42(6), 922–934. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-014-0402-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gunseli, E., Olivers, C. N. L., & Meeter, M. (2016). Task-irrelevant memories rapidly gain attentional control with learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42(3), 354–362. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000134 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Gur, R. C., & Hilgard, E. R. (1975). Visual imagery and the discrimination of differences between altered pictures simultaneously and successively presented. British Journal of Psychology, 66(3), 341–345. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8295.1975.tb01470.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Hsu, N. S., Frankland, S. M., & Thompson-Schill, S. L. (2012). Chromaticity of color perception and object color knowledge. Neuropsychologia, 50(2), 327–333. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.12.003 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. JASP Team. (2018). JASP (Version 0.8.5) [Computer software]. Retrieved from https://jasp-stats.org/download/
  23. Keogh, R., & Pearson, J. (2011). Mental imagery and visual working memory. PLOS One, 6(12), e29221. doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0029221 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. Keogh, R., & Pearson, J. (2014). The sensory strength of voluntary visual imagery predicts visual working memory capacity. Journal of Vision, 14(12), 1–13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.12.7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Keogh, R., & Pearson, J. (2017). The perceptual and phenomenal capacity of mental imagery. Cognition, 162, 124–132. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2017.02.004 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Kiyonaga, A., Egner, T., & Soto, D. (2012). Cognitive control over working memory biases of selection. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 19(4), 639–646. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-012-0253-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kosslyn, S. M. (2005). Mental images and the brain. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 22(3/4), 333–347. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02643290442000130 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Kristjánsson, Á. (2006). Simultaneous priming along multiple feature dimensions in a visual search task. Vision Research, 46(16), 2554–2570. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2006.01.015 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Lee, S. H., Kravitz, D. J., & Baker, C. I. (2012). Disentangling visual imagery and perception of real-world objects. NeuroImage, 59(4), 4064–4073. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.10.055 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Leys, C., Ley, C., Klein, O., Bernard, P., & Licata, L. (2013). Detecting outliers: Do not use standard deviation around the mean, use absolute deviation around the median. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(4), 764–766. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2013.03.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Maljkovic, V., & Nakayama, K. (1994). Priming of pop-out: I. Role of features. Memory & Cognition, 22(6), 657–672. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03209251 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mannaert, H. L. N., Dijkstra, K., & Zwaan, R. A. (2017). Is color an integral part of a rich mental simulation? Memory & Cognition, 45(6), 974–982. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-017-0708-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Manning, L. (2000). Loss of visual imagery and defective recognition of parts of wholes in optic aphasia. Neurocase, 6(2), 111–128. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13554790008402765 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Michal, A. L., Lleras, A., & Beck, D. M. (2014). Relative contributions of task-relevant and task-irrelevant dimensions in priming of pop-out. Journal of Vision, 14(12), 1–12. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.12.14 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mohr, H. M., Linder, N. S., Dennis, H., & Sireteanu, R. (2011). Orientation-specific aftereffects to mentally generated lines. Perception, 40(3), 272–290. doi: https://doi.org/10.1068/p6781 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Moriya, J., Koster, E. H. W., & De Raedt, R. (2014a). The influence of working memory on the anger superiority effect. Cognition and Emotion, 28(8), 1449–1464. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2014.890094 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Moriya, J., Koster, E. H. W., & De Raedt, R. (2014b). The influence of working memory on visual search for emotional facial expressions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40(5), 1874–1890. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037295 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Müller, H. J., Reimann, B., & Krummenacher, J. (2003). Visual search for singleton feature targets across dimensions: Stimulus- and expectancy-driven effects in dimensional weighting. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 29(5), 1021–1035. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.29.5.1021 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Myers, N. E., Stokes, M. G., & Nobre, A. C. (2017). Prioritizing information during working memory: Beyond sustained internal attention. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 21(6), 449–461. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2017.03.010 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Olivers, C. N. L. (2009). What drives memory-driven attentional capture? The effects of memory type, display type, and search type. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35(5), 1275–1291. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013896 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Olivers, C. N. L., Meijer, F., & Theeuwes, J. (2006). Feature-based memory-driven attentional capture: Visual working memory content affects visual attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 32(5), 1243–1265. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.32.5.1243 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Olivers, C. N. L., Peters, J., Houtkamp, R., & Roelfsema, P. R. (2011). Different states in visual working memory: When it guides attention and when it does not. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 15(7), 327–334. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2011.05.004 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Pashler, H., & Shiu, L. P. (1999). Do images involuntarily trigger search? A test of Pillsbury’s hypothesis. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 6, 445–448. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03210833 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pearson, J., Clifford, C. W. G., & Tong, F. (2008). The functional impact of mental imagery on conscious perception. Current Biology, 18(13), 982–986. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2008.05.048 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Pearson, J., Naselaris, T., Holmes, E. A., & Kosslyn, S. M. (2015). Mental imagery: Functional mechanisms and clinical applications. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19(10), 590–602. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2015.08.003 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  46. Pearson, J., & Westbrook, F. (2015). Phantom perception: Voluntary and involuntary nonretinal vision. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19(5), 278–284. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2015.03.004 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Reddy, L., Tsuchiya, N., & Serre, T. (2010). Reading the mind’s eye: Decoding category information during mental imagery. NeuroImage, 50(2), 818–825. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.11.084 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Reinhart, R. M. G., McClenahan, L. J., & Woodman, G. F. (2015). Visualizing trumps vision in training attention. Psychological Science, 26(7), 1114–1122. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797615577619 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  49. Reinhart, R. M. G., & Woodman, G. F. (2015). Enhancing long-term memory with stimulation tunes visual attention in one trial. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(2), 625–630. doi: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1417259112 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rich, A. N., Williams, M. A., Puce, A., Syngeniotis, A., Howard, M. A., McGlone, F., & Mattingley, J. B. (2006). Neural correlates of imagined and synaesthetic colours. Neuropsychologia, 44(14), 2918–2925. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.06.024 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Rubin, D. C. (2006). The basic-systems model of episodic memory. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1(4), 277–311. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6916.2006.00017.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Shuren, J. E., Brott, T. G., Schefft, B. K., & Houston, W. (1996). Preserved color imagery in an achromatopsic. Neuropsychologia, 34(6), 485–489. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/0028-3932(95)00153-0 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Simmons, W. K., Ramjee, V., Beauchamp, M. S., McRae, K., Martin, A., & Barsalou, L. W. (2007). A common neural substrate for perceiving and knowing about color. Neuropsychologia, 45(12), 2802–2810. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2007.05.002 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  54. Soto, D., Heinke, D., Humphreys, G. W., & Blanco, M. J. (2005). Early, involuntary top-down guidance of attention from working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31(2), 248–261. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.31.2.248 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Soto, D., Hodsoll, J., Rotshtein, P., & Humphreys, G. W. (2008). Automatic guidance of attention from working memory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12(9), 342–348. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2008.05.007 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Soto, D., & Humphreys, G. W. (2008). Stressing the mind: The effect of cognitive load and articulatory suppression on attentional guidance from working memory. Perception and Psychophysics, 70(5), 924–934. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/PP.70.5.924 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Soto, D., Humphreys, G. W., & Rotshtein, P. (2007). Dissociating the neural mechanisms of memory-based guidance of visual selection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(43), 17186–17191. doi: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0703706104 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Soto, D., Llewelyn, D., & Silvanto, J. (2012). Distinct causal mechanisms of attentional guidance by working memory and repetition priming in early visual cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(10), 3447–3452. doi: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6243-11.2012 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Soto, D., Mok, A. Y. F., McRobbie, D., Quest, R., Waldman, A., & Rotshtein, P. (2011). Biasing visual selection: Functional neuroimaging of the interplay between spatial cueing and feature memory guidance. Neuropsychologia, 49(6), 1537–1543. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.11.035 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Stroop, J. R. (1935). Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18, 643–662. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/h0054651 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Tong, F. (2013). Imagery and visual working memory: One and the same? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17(10), 489–490. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2013.08.005 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  62. Vannucci, M., Pelagatti, C., Chiorri, C., & Mazzoni, G. (2016). Visual object imagery and autobiographical memory: Object Imagers are better at remembering their personal past. Memory, 24(4), 455–470. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2015.1018277 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Wagenmakers, E., Love, J., Marsman, M., Jamil, T., Ly, A., Verhagen, J., … Morey, R. (2017). Bayesian inference for psychology. Part II: Example applications with JASP. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25(1), 58–76. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-017-1323-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wantz, A. L., Mast, F. W., & Lobmaier, J. S. (2015). Colors in mind: A novel paradigm to investigate pure color imagery. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41(4), 1152–1161. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000079 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Winawer, J., Huk, A. C., & Boroditsky, L. (2010). A motion aftereffect from visual imagery of motion. Cognition, 114(2), 276–284. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2009.09.010 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Wolfe, J. M. (2016). Visual search revived: The slopes are not that slippery: A reply to Kristjansson (2015). i-Perception. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/2041669516643244
  67. Wolfe, J. M., Horowitz, T. S., Kenner, N., Hyle, M., & Vasan, N. (2004). How fast can you change your mind? The speed of top-down guidance in visual search. Vision Research, 44(12), 1411–1426. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2003.11.024 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Woodman, G. F., Carlisle, N. B., & Reinhart, R. M. G. (2013). Where do we store the memory representations that guide attention? Journal of Vision, 13(3), 1–17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.3.1 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  69. Woodman, G. F., & Luck, S. J. (2007). Do the contents of visual working memory automatically influence attentional selection during visual search? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 33(2), 363–377. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.33.2.363 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Zeman, A., Della Sala, S., Torrens, L. A., Gountouna, V. E., McGonigle, D. J., & Logie, R. H. (2010). Loss of imagery phenomenology with intact visuo-spatial task performance: A case of “blind imagination” Neuropsychologia, 48(1), 145–155. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.08.024 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Zeman, A., Dewar, M., & Della Sala, S. (2015). Lives without imagery—Congenital aphantasia. Cortex, 73, 378–380. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2015.05.019 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of SociologyKansai UniversityOsakaJapan

Personalised recommendations