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Imagery, propositions, and the form of internal representations

Authors
Journal
Cognitive Psychology
0010-0285
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
9
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0010-0285(77)90004-4
Disciplines
  • Psychology

Abstract

Abstract This paper has four major sections: First, we review the basic arguments offered by Pylyshyn ( Psychological Bulletin, 1973 , 80, 1–24) and others against using imagery as an explanatory construct in psychology. Second, we consider each of these points and find none that speak against any but the most primitive notions of imagery. Third, we review the results of various experiments on imagery. In each case, we compare two explanations of the findings: one which assumes the existence of a surface image manifesting emergent properties, and one which assumes that all internal representations are coded in terms of “abstract propositions.” We find imagery hypotheses to be at least as adequate as those based on propositional representation. Finally, we conclude that debate about the ultimate foundations of internal representation is fruitless; the empirical question is whether images have properties that cannot be derived directly from more abstract propositional structures.

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