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  Mental Imagery, Reasoning, and Blindness

Knauff, M., & May, E. (2006). Mental Imagery, Reasoning, and Blindness. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A: Human Experimental Psychology, 59(1), 161-177. doi:10.1080/17470210500149992.

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Knauff, M1, 2, Author              
May, E, Author
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1Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497797              
2Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, Spemannstrasse 38, 72076 Tübingen, DE, ou_1497794              

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 Abstract: Although reasoning seems to be inextricably linked to seeing in the “mind's eye”, the evidence is equivocal. In three experiments, sighted, blindfolded sighted, and congenitally totally blind persons solved deductive inferences based on three sorts of relation: (a) visuo-spatial relations that are easy to envisage either visually or spatially, (b) visual relations that are easy to envisage visually but hard to envisage spatially, and (c) control relations that are hard to envisage both visually and spatially. In absolute terms, congenitally totally blind persons performed less accurately and more slowly than the sighted on all such tasks. In relative terms, however, the visual relations in comparison with control relations impeded the reasoning of sighted and blindfolded participants, whereas congenitally totally blind participants performed the same with the different sorts of relation. We conclude that mental images containing visual details that are irrelevant to an inference can even impede the process of reasoning. Persons who are blind from birth—and who thus do not tend to construct visual mental images—are immune to this visual-impedance effect.

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 Dates: 2006-01
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1080/17470210500149992
BibTex Citekey: 3255
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Title: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A: Human Experimental Psychology
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London : Published for the Experimental Psychology Society by Academic Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 59 (1) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 161 - 177 Identifier: ISSN: 0272-4987
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954927565700