Spontaneous Imagery Scanning in Mental Extrapolation

This experiment is based on the following paper:

Finke, R. & Pinker, S. (1982). Spontaneous imagery scanning in mental extrapolation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 8, 142-147.


Previous experiments have shown that as the distance between features in a mental image increases, so does the response time required for scanning those features. Critics have argued that these results may be due to aspects of the task other than mental imagery, such as the subject’s knowledge of the laws governing physical motion. To address this concern Finke and Pinker used a paradigm that required mental image scanning. Subjects viewed a display of dots for a short period of time. Then the display was removed and an arrow was shown which may or may not point to one of the dot locations. To complete this task successfully, subjects would have to work from a mental image of the display, extrapolating along the line of the arrow to determine if a dot was in that path.


The full text describing the experiment is available here.

The experiments are available below.

finke_pinker_win.zip (34.3 KB)

finke_pinker_mac.zip (48.5 KB)