Cognition Workshop 12/01: Dr. Rebecca Keogh

Understanding and measuring visual imagery in congenital aphantasia (absent visual imagery) and it’s relation to other cognitive functions

Visual imagery is our ability to ‘see with the mind’s eye’ and the vividness with which people report being able to visualise varies substantially with some people reporting incredibly strong lifelike imagery while others report very weak imagery. A recently identified group (congenital aphantasia) report not experiencing any visual imagery at all. Due to its inherently private nature, one of the main hurdles to overcome in visual imagery research is objectively and reliably measuring individual differences in the ability to visualise. In my presentation I will report on some behavioural (binocular rivalry) and physiological (skin conductance and pupillometry) measures that can be used to index visual imagery strength in the general population, as well as the lack of visual imagery in congenital aphantasia. I will then also discuss how cortical excitability might drive individual differences in visual imagery strength, touching on our recent findings that show that a less excitable visual cortex produces the strongest visual imagery. Lastly, I will talk about how individual differences in visual imagery ability may influence a range of cognitive functions, specifically assessing the relationship between visual imagery and memory, in congenital aphantasia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *