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Poster F97

Mind spinning? How visual imagery affects visuospatial ability

Poster Session F - Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Katja Gehr1, Sinead Doogan1, Carole Scherling1, Michael Oliver1; 1Belmont University

Manipulation of objects in space involves mental representations of environmental cues, with varying levels of ability to imagine objects. Previous work reveals involvement of posterior neural networks, while atypical cohorts primarily involve frontal activity (Kong, 2018). The current study examined sixty-eight undergraduates, to conceptualize a concrete visuospatial assessment. Participants completed novel forced-choice judgments of dyad image orientations (same/mirrored), measuring both reaction time (RT) and accuracy, and ERPs in a subset. Mental rotation abilities were probed through 3 blocks of stimuli (BAL: Blocks, Animals, Letters) and 4 Thatcher dyads (normal, manipulated images). The VVIQ extracted a visualization ability score. Task validation outcomes mirror literature findings. Behavioral outcomes showed slower RT in mirror image trials vs. same, p<0.01. For the BAL, blocks (4375ms) required longer RT versus letters (2407ms) and animals (2176ms). Accuracy was similar across all conditions (p>0.05), indicating speed-for-accuracy compensations. For the Thatcher task, longer RT and decreased accuracy were revealed when both images were manipulated vs. the other dyads (p<0.01). Spearman correlations showed no associations between imagery vividness and task performance (p>0.05). Preliminary analyses of ERP outcomes (N=49) indicate prolonged frontal and parietal N200 latencies. This may explain the longer RT and decreased accuracy, due to decreased access to visual properties of a stimulus. Meanwhile, higher frontal P300 amplitudes may lead to increased accuracy due to higher engagement of cortical networks associated with task arousal and decision making. Findings suggest that differences in imagery vividness stem from increased frontal involvement, indicating perceptual challenges when manipulating mental images.

Topic Area: OTHER


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April 13–16  |  2024