Distinguishing Imagery and Perception


Imagine these bananas

I’m having a hard time remembering a reference for an experiment I recall hearing about. Any help is appreciated.

As I recall the experiment, subjects were asked to look at a visual stimulus on a screen which was presented in variable degrees of faded-ness (with completely faded stimuli disappearing altogether). Subjects were also asked to imagine (form mental images of) the vanished stimuli as still being present on the screen. At some point in the experiment, there was some sort of measure of whether the subjects were seeing an actually present stimulus versus imagining one. I recall there being some result concerning the subjects not being terrific at distinguishing their own imagery from perceptions of the real deal.

Anyone know what I may be remembering? Or am I imagining this?

7 Responses to “Distinguishing Imagery and Perception”

  1. This sounds like a study that I recently used in my essay “Painting the Other in Me: The Role of Imagination in Tolerance and Intolerance” (see my blog http://therelativeabsolute.blogspot.com/) The study appears in the article: Slusher, Morgan P. and Craig A. Anderson. “When Reality Monitoring Fails: The Role of Imagination in Stereotype Maintenance.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 52, No. 4, (1987), 653-662. The study demonstrates that subjects imaginally confirmed as “real” what was not observed in the images presented.

  2. Jason Zarri says:

    A little googling yielded this:

    Perky, C.W. 1910. “An Experimental Study of Imagination.” American Journal of Psychology 21: 422-52.

    I hope it’s the one you’re looking for.

  3. Pete Mandik says:

    Ahh, Perky! That’s the ticket. Thanks, everybody.

  4. Anibal says:

    In more recent times, Stephen Kosslyn reviews the relevant literature wich says that percieving and imagining stimulates the same neurons: The Neural Foundations of Mental Imagery

  5. Eric Thomson says:

    It would be useful to know the methods they used to suupport that it was hard to distinguish imagined X from faded images of X. If it holds up, it’s an incredible result.

  6. Eric Steinhart says:

    I love the blue bananas. I just bought a dozen BLUE ROSES! Yay! Very, very disturbing. Like Duchamp used to make….