Poster E7, Monday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Involuntary Mental Rotation and Visuospatial Imagery from External Control: Implications for Frontal Control Mechanisms
Donish Cushing1, Ezequiel Morsella1,2; 1Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University, 2Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco
The Reflexive Imagery Task (RIT) was developed to investigate the entry into consciousness of high-level, involuntary thoughts and imagery (Bhangal et al., 2013). In the basic version of the task (Allen et al., 2013), participants are presented with visual objects and instructed to not think of the names of the objects. Involuntary subvocalizations arise on roughly 80% of the trials. Can mental rotation and visuospatial imagery, too, arise in this involuntary manner? If so, it would be noteworthy, for these processes involve symbol manipulation and frontal control mechanisms. In Task 1, subjects were first taught to mentally rotate (30°, 60°, or 90°) two-dimensional nonsense objects. After training, participants were instructed to not mentally rotate in these ways a different set of objects. In Task 2, subjects were taught how to move in their minds (i.e., visuospatial imagery) objects in specified ways, much as one could imagine how, in the game of chess, a given piece can navigate the chessboard. Each object was associated with a unique pattern of potential movement on a chessboard-like grid. After training, subjects were instructed to not think of where each object could move on the grid. Systematic, involuntary imagery occurred on a substantial proportion of trials for Task 1 (M = .44, SE = .11) and Task 2 (M = .65, SE = .11). The order of presentation of the two tasks was fully counterbalanced across subjects. Of import, RIT effects arose even though the involuntary processes required symbol manipulation and frontal control mechanisms.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Spatial