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  • Cited by 6
  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: June 2012

9 - Spatial Situation Models

Summary

This chapter explores what is known about mental imagery, and about visual imagery in particular. It reviews some of the findings to make clear visual images do function in important ways as if they were mental pictures, and that the processes of imaging do resemble for actual seeing. The chapter presents data showing that visual imagery relies heavily on brain areas ordinarily involved in visual perception, and points the way toward the conception of visual imagery that avoids the problematic notions of mind's eye and mental pictures. Differences between the discoveries that can be made from mental images and those that can be made from actual pictures are discussed. After an overview on the question of just how "visual" visual images truly are, the chapter explores the possibility that some tasks that might seem to rely on visual imagery may in fact rely on some other form of representation.

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Suggestions for Further Reading

Readers interested in dimensions of situation models not covered by this chapter should consult, for a most comprehensive and fairly current review of situation models, including spatial ones:

Zwaan, R. A., & Radvansky, G. A. (1998). Situation models in language comprehension and memory. Psychological Bulletin, 123, 162–185

A more general review of discourse comprehension is presented in:

Graesser, A. C., Millis, K. K., & Zwaan, R. A. (1997). Discourse comprehension. Annual Review of Psychology, 48, 163–189

For a comprehensive overview of the processes involved in all levels of language comprehension, see:

Gernsbacher, M. A. (Editor). (1994). Handbook of psycholinguistics. San Diego, CA: Academic Press

For an elaborated theoretical model of text comprehension, I suggest Kintsch’s 1988 article or his 1998 book:

Kintsch, W. (1988). The role of knowledge in discourse comprehension: A construction-integration model. Psychological Review, 95, 163–182
Kintsch, W. (1998). Comprehension. New York: Cambridge University Press

An introduction to mental models and their role in syllogistic reasoning may be found in:

Johnson-Laird, P. N. (1983). Mental models. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Finally, an interesting and insightful roundtable discussion by leading experts in the field, who outline their views of spatial situation models, imagery, and visuospatial cognition is contained in:

de Vega, M., Intons-Peterson, M. J., Johnson-Laird, P. N., Denis, M., & Marschark, M. (1996). Models of visuospatial cognition. Oxford: Oxford University Press

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