Mental Imagery: From Functional Mechanisms to Clinical Applications
Friday, May 23, 2014,
1:00 PM - 2:20 PM
Mental imagery has played a distinct role in discussions of psychology for thousands of years. Only in the past 30 years has empirical work gained traction. Here, four distinguished researchers present empirical and theoretical accounts of mental imagery from "low-level" sensory mechanisms, through memory, to clinical applications and future directions.
Research into mental imagery has a fascinating biography. Historically mental imagery research suffered criticism due to the methodological constraints caused by imagery’s inherent private nature. However, recently many objective research methods have been introduced that allow a more direct investigation into the mechanisms and neural substrates of mental imagery. Accordingly mental imagery research is currently thriving, with numerous new discoveries over the past years.
This symposium will cover multiple dimensions of imagery. Thomas Naselaris will begin by presenting some exciting new fMRI work on the sensory properties of primary visual cortex involved in imagery. Second, Joel Pearson will talk about the similarities and differences between voluntary and involuntary imagery. Third Daniel Schacter will discuss the commonalities and differences between the neural dynamics of remembering the past and imagining the future. To finish, Emily Holmes will give an overview of ubiquitous role of imagery in mental disorders and new direction in treatment innovations. The symposium will be introduced and chaired by Stephen Kosslyn, who will lead a general discussion on mental imagery following the organized talks. Together this symposium presents an exciting glimpse into the empirical, theoretical and clinical work on mental imagery, one of our most useful and ubiquitous sensory-cognitive processes.
Structure and timing (80min total): - 5 minute introduction by chair - 15 minutes for each of the four talks - 15 minutes open discussion