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Journal Article

Anschauliches Denken und Arbeitsgedächtnis: Kognitive und kortikale Prozesse


Knauff,  M
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Knauff, M. (2002). Anschauliches Denken und Arbeitsgedächtnis: Kognitive und kortikale Prozesse. Psychologische Rundschau, 53, 49-60.

Imaginary thinking is a vital, basic element of human cognition. However, in the psychological laboratory, the findings regarding the effect of imageability on reasoning remain inconsistent. The starting point of the following work is the assumption that the inconsistencies arise from a confounding of visual and spatial processes in working memory. We give an overview of recent research (mainly on deductive reasoning), including our own results: secondary tasks of different modalities which preoccupy spatial working memory interfere with imaginary reasoning, whereas purely visual secondary tasks have no effect. Moreover, reasoning with materials that are easy to envisage spatially promote reasoning performance, while purely visual imageability can even impair reasoning. Furthermore, in studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), increased activation was found in brain regions that are associated with spatial working memory, but not in visual working memory areas. Apparently, imaginary reasoning – contrary to popular belief – has to do with spatial rather than visual representations and processes in working memory