For the mind's eye the world is two-dimensional

Lobmaier, Janek S.; Mast, Fred W.; Hecht, Heiko (2010). For the mind's eye the world is two-dimensional. Psychonomic bulletin & review, 17(1), pp. 36-40. New York, N.Y.: Springer 10.3758/PBR.17.1.36

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The nature of visual mental images is a topic that has puzzled neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers alike. On the one hand, mental images might preserve the 3-D properties of our perceptual world. On the other hand, they might be akin to 2-D pictures, such as photographs, paintings, or drawings. In the present study, 16 observers judged where real objects (Experiment 1) or photographs thereof (Experiment 2) were pointing. Both experiments contained a perception condition and an imagery condition. In Experiment 1, there was a significant difference between the pointing errors in the perception and the imagery conditions, whereas there was no such difference in Experiment 2. In imagined objects, actual photographs, and imagined photographs, the direction in which the objects pointed followed the observer, regardless of his or her vantage point. The results from this study extend the rotation effect, typically found in pictures, to the domain of mental imagery. We found the rotation effect in pictures and mental images alike, but not in direct perception of 3-D objects; thus, we provide evidence that mental images share main characteristics of 2-D pictures.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology > Biologische Psychologie (SNF) [discontinued]
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology

UniBE Contributor:

Lobmaier, Janek Simon, Mast, Fred








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:11

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:20

Publisher DOI:




URI: (FactScience: 204195)

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