The Status of Arguments Concerning Representations for Mental Imagery,
YALE UNIV NEW HAVEN CT DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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A review is provided of the recent debates over whether pictorial-like or propositional-like representations are most appropriate for visual imagery. It is argued that the failure of the anti-pictorial and the pro-pictorial arguments stems from a fundamental indeterminancy in deciding issues of representations. It is shown that wide classes of different representations can be made to yield indentical behavioral predictions. In particular, this potential for mutual mimicry holds between propositional and dual-code pictorial-plus-verbal models. If one considers criteria such as parsimony and efficiency in addition to prediction of behavior, it may be possible to establish further constraints on representation. In particular, it may be possible to establish whether there are two codes, one for visual information and one for verbal, or whether there is a single abstract code. However, the conclusion of this paper is that, barring decisive physiological data, it will not be possible to establish the character of an internal representation--e.g., whether it is pictorial or propositional.