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The VVIQ and beyond: Vividness and its measurement.

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Responds to comments by A. Ahsen, F. S. Bellezza, A. Campos, C. Cornoldi, M. Denis, S. Hishitani, A. N. Katz, G. Kaufmann, R. G. Kunzendorf, D. F. Marks, D. G. Pearson, A. Richardson, J. T. Richardson, P. W. Sheehan, J. A. Slee, and B. Wallace (see PA, Vol 83:29135, 003, 004, 005, 006, 007, 008, 009, 010, 011, 012, 013, 014, 015, 016, and 017, respectively) regarding S. J. McKelvie's (see record 1996-29151-001) review of the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ). Commentators' remarks are considered in 3 areas: the construct of visual imagery vividness, research evidence, and the VVIQ itself. Recommendations for refining the VVIQ are presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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... images, and with the use of concepts such as quasiperception, clarity, liveliness, vivacity, detail, brightness, intensity, richness, and so on, which themselves are unexplained (see, e.g., Cornoldi et al., 1991;Denis, 1995;Kind, 2017;McKelvie, 1995aMcKelvie, , 1995bTooming & Miyazono, 2020). ...
... A related, unsettled issue is whether vividness includes a single feature of experience or a construct with multiple separate components. McKelvie (1995aMcKelvie ( , 1995b attempted to refine Marks' original definition involving clarity and liveliness by dividing clarity into brightness and sharpness. Most recently, an analysis by Fazekas et al. (2020) suggested that vividness of conscious experiences, as measured not only by the VVIQ but also the Perceptual Awareness Scale (PAS; Ramsøy & Overgaard, 2004), could be defined in terms of subjective intensity, specificity, and stability. ...
... Participants' verbal reports on visual mental images typically confound something akin to sensory strength with detail resolution (precision; e.g., Kosslyn & Alper, 1977). Both formally and operationally, the phenomenological characterization of vividness conflates two or more aspects which have not been sufficiently fleshed out (Fazekas et al., 2020;McKelvie, 1995b). ...
Article
Revisiting the neglected empirical and theoretical work of two pioneers in experimental phenomenology, we tested Enzo Bonaventura’s hypothesis that vividness is the intensive variation of the consciousness of the present, and explored a possible generalization of Renata Calabresi’s hypothesis that such quale may be linked to the brain’s intrinsic cycle of ~1 second. We tested both hypotheses through experiments using a semantic repetition priming paradigm from the information processing tradition. Participants (N = 81) were asked to read one/two-noun object descriptions and recall the same target image corresponding to the verbal cue (i.e., apple) following single paired trials in which they were asked to retrieve four types of priming images (perceptually related, i.e., ball; conceptually related, i.e., banana; perceptually & conceptually related, i.e., orange; and unrelated, i.e., accordion). We found that the most vivid visual mental images for the targets, regardless of prime type, image content, or explicit knowledge of the prime-target relations, occurred between 700 and 1200 ms – the window of the conscious present hypothesized by Calabresi. Target images occurring within that time-window were faster (positive priming); beyond that interval, however, they were slower (negative priming). The metric extension of the phenomenological experience tied with either positive or negative priming supports a genuine shift in the perception of image duration either as subjective contraction or expansion, respectively. The time-course points to an event-related potential signature usually linked with verbally evoked visual imagery (the late positive potential) which warrants further empirical confirmation.
... Vividness has been routinely used to compare and contrast different varieties of conscious experiences like those occurring in dreams and wakefulness [83][84][85][86][87][88][89], or during mental imagery and stimulus-triggered perception [80,81,90]. However, the notion of vividness has been claimed to be notoriously problematic as it is only intuitively defined with the use of other concepts like clarity, detail, brightness, intensity, etc., which themselves are then left unexplained [91][92][93][94][95]. Even whether what standard empirical tools, like the vividness of visual imagery questionnaire (VVIQ) [96], measure is a single feature of experience or rather a construct with more than one components is debated [94]. ...
... However, the notion of vividness has been claimed to be notoriously problematic as it is only intuitively defined with the use of other concepts like clarity, detail, brightness, intensity, etc., which themselves are then left unexplained [91][92][93][94][95]. Even whether what standard empirical tools, like the vividness of visual imagery questionnaire (VVIQ) [96], measure is a single feature of experience or rather a construct with more than one components is debated [94]. ...
... According to a recently proposed theoretical model, consciousness can be reduced in quality along many different dimensions [97][98][99]. Importantly from our present perspective, two of these major dimensions are subjective intensity (determined by how much the content-element in question stands out from the perceived background; with more intense content-elements having more strength [100] or liveliness [94]), and subjective specificity (determined by how distinguishable a content-element is from other contentelements; with less specific experience of a content-element being more generic or vague). These major dimensions themselves are determined by many modality-specific factors or sub-dimensions that can be modulated either individually or in any combination. ...
Article
This paper argues for a novel way of thinking about hallucinations as intensified forms of mind-wandering. Starting from the observation that hallucinations are associated with hyperactive sensory areas underlying the content of hallucinatory experiences and a confusion with regard to the reality of the source of these experiences, the paper first reviews the different factors that might contribute to the impairment of reality monitoring. The paper then focuses on the sensory characteristics determining the vividness of an experience, reviews their relationship to the sensory hyperactivity observed in hallucinations, and investigates under what circumstances they can drive reality judgements. Finally, based on these considerations, the paper presents its main proposal according to which hallucinations are intensified forms of mind-wandering that are amplified along their sensory characteristics, and sketches a possible model of what factors might determine if an internally and involuntarily generated perceptual representation is experienced as a hallucination or as an instance of mind-wandering. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Offline perception: voluntary and spontaneous perceptual experiences without matching external stimulation’.
... Although routinely used in experimental practice, the notion of vividness that VVIQ tries to measure (VVIQvividness, for short) is notoriously problematic as it is only intuitively defined with the use of other concepts like clarity, detail, brightness, intensity, etc. which themselves are then left unexplained (see e.g. Cornoldi et al., 1991;Denis, 1995;Kind, 2017;McKelvie, 1995aMcKelvie, , 1995b. Even whether VVIQ-vividness is supposed to be a single feature of experience or a construct with more than one components is debated (McKelvie, 1995a). ...
... Cornoldi et al., 1991;Denis, 1995;Kind, 2017;McKelvie, 1995aMcKelvie, , 1995b. Even whether VVIQ-vividness is supposed to be a single feature of experience or a construct with more than one components is debated (McKelvie, 1995a). ...
... In his enormously rich review and analysis, Stuart McKelvie (1995aMcKelvie ( , 1995b argues that VVIQ-vividness is a combination of two factors: clarity and liveliness, where the former characterises the sharpness and detailedness, while the latter characterises the illumination, brightness and intensity of the content of experience. McKelvie also emphasises that, as it is suggested by the fact that the maximum value of VVIQ-vividness is related to the clarity and liveliness of normal vision, VVIQ asks subjects to measure their imagery against their fullblown visual experiences, i.e. ...
Article
In recent years, independent subfields have started to engage with the idea that the same cortical regions that contribute to online perception are recruited during and underlie offline activities like information maintenance in working memory, mental imagery, hallucinations, dreaming, and mind wandering. Accumulating evidence suggests that in all these cases the activity of posterior brain regions provide the contents of experiences. This paper is interested in moving one step further by exploring specific links between the vividness of experiences, which is a characteristic feature of consciousness regardless of its actual content, and certain properties of the content-specific neural activity patterns. Investigating the mechanisms that underlie mental imagery and its relation to working memory, and the processes responsible for mind wandering and its similarities to dreaming form two clusters of research that are in the forefront of recent scientific study of mental phenomena, yet cross-talk between these two clusters have been surprisingly sparse. Here our aim is to foster such a cross-talk by articulating a hypothesis about the fine-grained phenomenological structure determining subjective vividness and its possible neural basis that allows us to shed new light on these mental phenomena by bringing them under a common framework.
... Traditionally, imagery ability has been assessed according to two fundamental characteristics, vividness and controllability (Pearson et al., 2013;Richardson, 1994). The vividness refers to the clarity and liveliness of the image simulating an actual perception (Marks, 1972;McKelvie, 1995). The controllability refers to the ability to intentionally transform or manipulate mental images in one's mind (Gordon, 1949;Kosslyn, 1994;Richardson, 1994). ...
... The scale is a reliable and valid method for measuring the general ability to imagine (Sheehan, 1967a;1967b;White et al., 1977). There are no significant gender differences in any of seven sensory modalities of the Betts' QMI (Campos, 2014a(Campos, , 2014bCampos & P erez-Fabello, 2005;McKelvie, 1995). The scale is an internally consistent and reliable inventory in both clinical and general population groups (see e.g., Campos & P erez-Fabello, 2005;Oertel et al., 2009;Sack et al., 2005;Vella-Brodrick & MacRae, 2004;White et al., 1977). ...
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Dysfunction in mental imagery may contribute to the development of mental disorders. We studied the vividness and controllability of mental imagery in a sample of 42 individuals with recent-onset psychosis, using a cross sectional design. Contrary to earlier studies, the claim that mental imagery is enhanced and the controllability weak in psychotic disorder was not supported. Especially the negative and affective symptoms associated with low vividness, and the stronger the symptoms the patients had, the less vivid was their imagery. Anxiety and self-neglect were the best predictors of low vividness. Only an elevated mood associated with higher vividness. The cognitive performance of the participants did not associate significantly with imagery. Surprisingly, organic modality was reported to be the most vivid modality, whereas visual imagery was the least vivid. Understanding the role of mental imagery in early psychosis may help us to understand and treat these disorders better.
... Currently, the vividness of visual mental imagery is likely the most commonly measured dimension of imagery ability in psychological research (Kihlstrom et al., 1991). It is considered the essence of visual imagery experience (McKelvie, 1995). ...
... Clarity of mental images is characterized by the brightness of colors and sharpness of the outline and details, whereas liveliness reflects how dynamic, vigorous, and alive the image is (Marks, 1999(Marks, , 2019. Recognizing these aspects of visual mental imagery, vividness has also been analyzed in terms of the imagery's realness (McKelvie, 1995). Our conceptualization of vividness of mental imagery Chapter 1: Creative aspects of visual mental imagery and its assessment | Dorota Maria Jankowska, Maciej Karwowski is based on two key elements of visual imagery experience, namely clarity and liveliness of a mental image, additionally taking into account detailedness-the amount of detail of created images (D'Angiulli & Reeves, 2007). ...
... A summary of the vividness construct(McKelvie, 1995b). ...
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Vividness of imagery usually refers to the degree of similarity between mental images and corresponding percepts of real objects. One of the recently developed questionnaires, proposed to measure the vividness of auditory imagery, is the Clarity of Auditory Imagery Scale (CAIS). The main goal of the present study was to assess the factor structure, internal consistency, and test–retest reliability of the Polish version of the CAIS. The study was conducted on musicians (N = 39) and non-musicians (N = 40) to establish differences between the two groups in the vividness (or more specifically, clarity) of their auditory images. A combination of the minimum average partial (MAP) test and parallel analysis (PA) was used as a method of establishing the number of factors and provided evidence that the CAIS is one factor questionnaire. Test–retest reliability was measured by the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) between the mean scores obtained in two measurements made over a one-week interval. The test–retest (ICC) obtained between two measurements equaled .85. The ICC value showed satisfactory stability of the measurement of the vividness of auditory images, at least for short time intervals. The internal consistency of the scale was also satisfactory (Cronbach’s α = .87). Summarizing, the psychometric properties of the Polish version of the CAIS indicate that the scale is a reliable measure of the vividness of auditory imagery. Vividness of auditory imagery measured by the CAIS was not influenced by sex or musical expertise factors.
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Classical Introspection (CI) was the first formal scientific method to investigate conscious experience, but it fell into disrepute. Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES) has been proposed as a better method to capture naturally-occurring “pristine inner experience”, but the significance of this experience has not been systematically evaluated. This paper examines the functions of pristine inner experience on the basis of two questions that emerged from criticisms of CI: Can pristine inner experience access mental processes and can it affect behavior? Considering the most frequent form of pristine inner experience (inner seeing) from research on visual imagery, three conclusions are drawn: (a) Imagery and inner seeing do not provide direct knowledge about mental processes, (b) imagery and inner seeing do play a role in the determination of behavior, and (c) vividness of visual imagery is associated with behavior, but neither it or pristine inner seeing have causal effects because they have not been experimentally manipulated. This requirement poses challenges, and suggestions are made for nonexperimental research. It is concluded that DES is a better method than CI, but questions are raised about the time and effort that it requires.
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Familiarity, emotionality, motor activity, memorability, and vividness of visual imagery ratings, on 7-point scales, were collected for 536 Spanish action-related sentences, including a corpus of 439 phrases originally normed in Swedish, German, and Croatian (Arar & Molander, 1996; Molander & Arar, 1998; Molander, Arar, Mavrinac, & Janig, 1999) and 97 new sentences describing actions usually performed using different body postures and face or hand movements. These norms constitute the only available set of ratings for action sentences in Spanish including those dimensions to date, and they allow for the design of studies aimed at empirically exploring the relationship between action, language, and cognition with well-controlled materials in Spanish-speaking samples of participants.
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How are we to understand the phenomenology of imagining? Attempts to answer this question often invoke descriptors concerning the ‘vivacity’ or ‘vividness’ of our imaginative states. Not only are particular imaginings often phenomenologically compared and contrasted with other imaginings on grounds of how vivid they are, but such imaginings are also often compared and contrasted with perceptions and memories on similar grounds. Yet however natural it may be to use ‘vividness’ and cognate terms in discussions of imagination, it does not take much reflection to see that these terms are poorly understood. In this paper, I review both some relevant empirical literature as well as the philosophical literature in an attempt to get a handle on what it could mean, in an imaginative context, to talk of vividness. As I suggest, this notion ultimately proves to be so problematic as to be philosophically untenable.
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