Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Imagination Effect

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_140



The  imagination effect is generated when instructions to imagine a series of steps required to solve a problem, paired with practice problems, generate better learning outcomes than instructions to study (read through and understand) equivalent instructional materials.

Theoretical Background

Mental practice, visualization, and imagination are members of a class of cognitive processes which have been found, under some circumstances, to enhance learning. Each of these processes involves quasi-sensory conscious experiences, and “have in common the awareness of sensory qualities in the absence of appropriate external stimuli” (Anderson 1981; p.150). Anderson notes that while the term “imagery” has a visual connotation, it need not be restricted to this modality, and recommends using the term “imaginary” over “imaginal” to reduce the visual connotation when discussing such phenomena. The use of such...

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  1. Cooper, G. A., Tindall-Ford, S., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (2001). Learning by imagining. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 7, 68–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Further Reading

  1. Anderson, M. P., et al. (1981). Assessment of imaginal processes: approaches and issues. In T. M. Merluzzi, C. R. Glass, & M. Genest (Eds.), Cognitive assessment. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of SydneySydneyAustralia