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Determinants of the vividness of visual imagery: The effects of delayed recall, stimulus affect and individual differences

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This study investigated the influence of emotion on vividness of imagery. A total of 80 undergraduate participants saw 25 pictures from the International Affective Picture System, representing different dimensions of valence and arousal. They rated each stimulus for valence, arousal, and emotionality. Each stimulus was then presented again, and participants formed an image of it, rating the image for vividness, valence, arousal, and emotionality. During a 15-minute retention interval, participants completed several individual differences questionnaires. They then recalled each image from a verbal prompt and re-rated its quality. Slides rated as extremely valenced and highly arousing were more vividly imaged than neutral slides. Low mood was also associated with more vivid imagery. The influence of stimulus variables was greater in the immediate imagery phase; that of individual differences tended to be greater in the delayed imagery phase. Of 29 participants, 7 reported intrusive memories of highly unpleasant stimuli at 1 year follow-up.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sheffield, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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