Imagery constraints on quantitative and qualitative aspects of mental synthesis

B Barquero, R H Logie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two experiments ale reported which explored constraints on the use of imagery in mental synthesis tasks in which subjects generated images of recognisable objects by mentally combining a set of specified shapes. Experiment 1 demonstrated that subjects' naming of imaged constructions is pool er when constructions are derived from sets of concrete-object shapes than from sets of mole abstract shapes. This suggests that the semantic properties of the concrete shapes may constrain mental synthesis. In Experiment 2 subjects were given unlimited time to generate multiple imaged patterns from an increasing number of abstract shapes. Number of shapes to be combined had little effect on the number of imaged constructions or on the quality of those constructions as rated by independent judges. In both experiments, drawing the imaged constructions resulted in improved naming of those constructions and appeared to act as a form of external stimulus support that mitigated both qualitative and quantitative constraints on performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-333
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1999


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