A Multifactorial Model of Visual Imagery and its Relationship to Creativity and the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire

Friedlander, Kathryn J. and Lenton, Freya and Fine, Philip A. A Multifactorial Model of Visual Imagery and its Relationship to Creativity and the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts. ISSN 1931-390X (In Press)

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Visual imagery vividness (VIV) quantifies how clearly people can ‘conjure up’ mental images. A higher VIV reflects a stronger image, which might be considered an important source of inspiration in creative production. However, despite numerous anecdotes documenting such a connection, a clear empirical relationship has remained elusive. We argue that (a) a misunderstanding of visual imagery as unidimensional and (b) an overreliance on Marks’ Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ), are responsible. Based on both the proximal/distal imagination framework and the distinction between the ventral/dorsal visual pathways, we propose a new Multifactorial Model of Visual Imagery (MMVI). This argues that visual imagery is multidimensional and that only certain dimensions are related to creativity: inventive combinatorial ability, story-boarding, and conceptual expansion (all distal); together with the quasi-eidetic recall of detailed images (proximal). Turning to the VVIQ, a factor analysis of 280 responses in Study 1 yielded a three-factor solution (all proximal): episodic/autobiographical imagery; schematic recall; and controlled animation. None of these factors overlap with the creative dimensions of the MMVI. In Study 2, 133 participants had to remember non-verbalizable detail of unfamiliar pictures for later recall: performance on this quasi-eidetic task again did not correlate with any VVIQ factors. We have thus demonstrated that the VVIQ is not unidimensional and that none of its factors appear suitable for probing imagery-creativity connections. The MMVI model is currently theoretical, and future research should confirm its validity, permitting a new, better targeted measure of VIV to be established which fully reflects its multidimensionality.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Visual Imagery Vividness; VVIQ; Distal and Proximal imagery; Object/ventral and spatial/dorsal visual pathways; Creativity
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
Divisions: School of Psychology and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Kathryn Friedlander
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2022 08:34
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2022 08:34
URI: http://bear.buckingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/572

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