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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

November 1997, Vol. 9, No. 6, Pages 734-742
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.1997.9.6.734)
© 1997 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Visual Imagery: Effects of Short- and Long-Term Memory
Article PDF (1.23 MB)

Visual imagery and perception share several functional properties and apparently share common underlying brain structures. A main approach to the scientific study of visual imagery is exploring the effects of mental imagery on perceptual processes. Previous studies have shown that visual imagery interferes with perception (Perky effect). Recently we have shown a direct facilitatory effect of visual imagery on visual perception. In an attempt to differentiate the conditions under which visual imagery interferes or facilitates visual perception, we designed new experimental paradigms, using detection tasks of a Gabor target. We found that imagery-induced interference and facilitation are memorydependent: Visual recall of common objects from long-term memory can interfere with perception, while on short-term memory tasks facilitation can be obtained. These results support the distinction between low-level and structural representations in visual memory.