Science University Research Symposium (SURS)

Picture That! Imagery of Your Mind's Eye

Publication Date

Winter 12-1-2022


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Michael Oliver, PhD & Carole Scherling, PhD

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Aphantasia describes a lack of visual imagery capabilities and in the majority of cases it can be expanded to all sensory modalities (Blomkvist, 2022; Monzel et al., 2022). Considering that memory is dependent on the sensory system, aphantasia should also interfere memory. Therefore, prior research investigated memory performance and results indicated a high accuracy for memories of spatial locations, whereas fewer objects were recalled in comparison with the control group, suggesting that object and spatial imagery can be enhanced and impaired selectively (Bainbridge et al., 2020; Palermo et al., 2022). The present study aimed to further examine the performance of participants with and without aphantasia in visual memory tasks and spatial memory tasks in order to answer the question whether aphantasia only impairs the visual memory performance. Based on previous literature it was hypothesized that participants who fall within the aphantasic range will score no different in spatial memory compared to participants who do not fall within this range, whereas participants who fall within the aphantasic range will score lower in visual memory compared to participants who do not fall within this range. In order to test these hypotheses participants completed the Corsi Block Tapping Task as a measure for spatial short-term memory as well as the Visual Search Task to assess the visual memory performance. The Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire was used to determine whether participants are considered aphantasic or not. Data is currently being collected, and we anticipate that the results support our hypotheses. Our findings emphasize the differentiation between object and spatial imagery in aphantasic participants, however future research with a more representative sample and a wider sample size is necessary to give further insight on the topic.

This document is currently not available here.