Export file:

Format

  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text

Content

  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

The reflexive imagery task: An experimental paradigm for neuroimaging

1 Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University, CA, USA
2 Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA

High-level cognitions can be triggered into consciousness through the presentation of external stimuli and the activation of certain action sets. These activations arise in a manner that is involuntary, systematic and nontrivial. For example, in the Reflexive Imagery Task (RIT), subjects are presented with visual objects and instructed to not think of the names of the objects. Involuntary subvocalizations arise on roughly 80% of the trials. We review the findings from this paradigm, discuss neural findings that are relevant to the RIT, and present new data that further corroborate the reliability and robustness of the RIT, a paradigm that could be coupled with neuroimaging technologies. We developed an RIT variant in which two, non-focal objects are presented simultaneously. In previous RITs, visual objects were presented only one at a time, in the center of the screen, and subjects were instructed to focus on the center of the screen, where these objects were presented. Replicating the RIT effect, involuntary subvocalizations still occurred on a high proportion of trials (M = 0.78). An RIT effect arose for both objects on a considerable proportion of the trials (M = 0.35). These findings were replicated in a second experiment having a different sample of subjects. Our findings are relevant to many subfields of neuroscience (e.g., the study of high-level mental processes, attention, imagery and action control).
  Figure/Table
  Supplementary
  Article Metrics

References

1. Di Lollo V, Enns JT, Rensink RA (2000) Competition for consciousness among visual events: The psychophysics of reentrant visual pathways. J Exp Psychol Gen 129: 481–507.    

2. Mathewson KE, Gratton G, Fabiani M, et al. (2009) To see or not to see: Prestimulus alpha phase predicts visual awareness. J Neurosci 29: 2725–2732.    

3. Crick F, Koch C (2003) A framework for consciousness. Nat Neurosci 6: 119–126.    

4. Most SB, Scholl BJ, Clifford ER, et al. (2005) What you see is what you set: Sustained inattentional blindness and the capture of awareness. Psychol Rev 112: 217–242.    

5. Merker B (2007) Consciousness without a cerebral cortex: A challenge for neuroscience and medicine. Behav Brain Sci 30: 63–134.

6. Freeman WJ (2006) William James on consciousness, revisited. Chaos Complexity Lett 1: 17–42.

7. Köhler W (1948) Gestalt psychology: An introduction to new concepts in modern psychology. Q Rev Biol.

8. Searle JR (2000) Consciousness. Annu Rev Neurosci 23: 557–578.    

9. Gazzaley A, D'Esposito M (2007) Unifying prefrontal cortex function: Executive control, neural networks and top-down modulation, In: Miller B, Cummings J (Ed.), The human frontal lobes: Functions and disorders, New York: Guilford Press, 187–206.

10. Ezequiel M, Godwin CA, Jantz TK, et al. (2015) Homing in on consciousness in the nervous system: An action-based synthesis. Behav Brain Sci 39: 1–17.

11. Ach N (1905/1951) Determining tendencies: Awareness, In: Rapaport D (Ed.), Organization and pathology of thought, New York: Columbia University Press, 15–38.

12. Freud S, Brill AA (1938) The basic writings of Sigmund Freud. New York: Modern Library.

13. Helmholtz Hv (1856/1925) Treatise of physiological optics: Concerning the perceptions in general, In: T. Shipley (Ed.), Classics in psychology, New York: Philosophy Library, 79–127.

14. James W (1950) The principles of psychology. Am J Psychol 2: 761.

15. Miller NE (1959) Liberalization of basic S-R concepts: Extensions to conflict behavior, motivation, and social learning, In: Koch S (Ed.), Psychology: A study of a science, Vol. 2, New York: McGraw-Hill, 196–292.

16. Wegner DM (1990) White bears and other unwanted thoughts. Suppr Obsession Psychol Mental Control.

17. Lashley KS (1956) Cerebral organization and behavior, In: Proceedings of the association for research in nervouse and mental diseases, 36: 1–18.

18. Miller GA (1962) Psychology: The science of mental life. Pelican Books.

19. Fodor JA (1983) Modularity of mind: An essay on faculty psychology. Cambridge, MA: The MIT press.

20. Morsella E (2005) The function of phenomenal states: Supramodular interaction theory. Psychol Rev 112: 1000–1021.    

21. Ohman A, Mineka S (2001) Fears, phobias, and preparedness: Toward an evolved module of fear and fear learning. Psychol Rev 108: 483–522.    

22. Bargh JA, Morsella E (2008) The unconscious mind. Perspect Psychol Sci 3: 73–79.    

23. Allen AK, Wilkins K, Gazzaley A, et al. (2013) Conscious thoughts from reflex-like processes: A new experimental paradigm for consciousness research. Conscious Cognition 22: 1318–1331.    

24. Bhangal S, Cho H, Geisler MW, et al. (2016) The prospective nature of voluntary action: Insights from the reflexive imagery task. Rev Gen Psychol 20: 101–117.    

25. Stroop JR (1935) Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions. J Exp Psychol Gen 121: 15–23.

26. Gollwitzer PM (1999) Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans. Am Psychol 54: 493–503.    

27. Snodgrass JG, Vanderwart M (1980) A standardized set of 260 pictures: Norms for name agreement, image agreement, familiarity, and visual complexity. J Exp Psychol Hum Learn Mem 6: 174–215.

28. Cho H, Godwin CA, Geisler MW, et al. (2014) Internally generated conscious contents: Interactions between sustained mental imagery and involuntary subvocalizations. Front Psychol 5: 1445.

29. Merrick C, Farnia M, Jantz TK, et al. (2015) External control of the stream of consciousness: Stimulus-based effects on involuntary thought sequences. Conscious Cognition 33: 217–225.    

30. Levelt WJM (1989) Speaking: From intention to articulation. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

31. Cho H, Zarolia P, Gazzaley A, et al. (2016) Involuntary symbol manipulation (Pig Latin) from external control: Implications for thought suppression. Acta Psychol 166: 37–41.    

32. Miller BL, Cummings JL (2007) The human frontal lobes: Functions and disorders, second edition. New York: Guilford Press.

33. Block N (2007) Consciousness, accessibility, and the mesh between psychology and neuroscience. Behav Brain Sci 30: 481–548.

34. Morsella E, Wilson LE, Berger CC, et al. (2009) Subjective aspects of cognitive control at different stages of processing. Atten Percept Psychophysics 71: 1807–1824.    

35. Mason MF, Norton MI, Horn JDV, et al. (2007) Wandering minds: The default network and stimulus-independent thought. Science 315: 393–345.    

36. Mcvay JC, Kane MJ (2010) Does mind wandering reflect executive function or executive failure? Comment on Smallwood and Schooler (2006) and Watkins (2008). Psycho Bull 136: 198–207.

37. Mitchell JP, Heatherton TF, Kelley WM, et al. (2010) Separating sustained from transient aspects of cognitive control during thought suppression. Psychol Sci 18: 292–297.

38. Pasley BN, David SV, Mesgarani N, et al. (2012) Reconstructing speech from human auditory cortex. PLoS Biol 10: e1001251.    

39. Wyland CL, Kelley WM, Macrae CN, et al. (2003) Neural correlates of thought suppression. Neuropsychologia 41: 1863–1867.    

40. Cushing D, Morsella E (2016) The polymodal role of consciousness in adaptive action selection: A paradigm for neuroimaging, In: Poster presented at the Annual Convention of the Society for Cognitive Neuroscience, New York.

41. Wegner DM (1994) Ironic processes of thought control. Psychol Rev 101: 34–52.    

42. Bhangal S, Merrick C, Morsella E (2015) Ironic effects as reflexive responses: Evidence from word frequency effects on involuntary subvocalizations. Acta Psychol 159: 33–40.    

43. Bhangal S, Allen AK, Geisler MW, et al. (2016) Conscious contents as reflexive processes: Evidence from the habituation of high-level cognitions. Conscious Cognition 41: 177–188.    

44. Merrick C, Cho H, Morsella E (2014) The reflexive imagery task: Unintentional imagery despite extensive training and voluntary set selection. Unpublished Manuscript, San Francisco State University.

45. Allen AK, Krisst L, Montemayor C, et al. (2016) Entry of involuntary conscious contents from ambiguous images. Psychol Conscious Theory Res Pract 3: 326–337.    

46. Rassin E (2005) Thought suppression. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.

47. Miller EK (2000) The prefrontal cortex and cognitive control. Nat Rev Neurosci 1: 59–65.    

48. Munakata Y, Herd SA, Chatham CH, et al. (2011) A unified framework for inhibitory control. Trends Cognit Sci 15: 453–459.    

49. Anderson MC, Ochsner KN, Kuhl B, et al. (2004) Neural systems underlying the suppression of unwanted memories. Science 303: 232–235.    

50. Giuliano RJ, Wicha NY (2010) Why the white bear is still there: Electrophysiological evidence for ironic semantic activation during thought suppression. Brain Res 1316: 62–74.    

51. Gazzaley A, Nobre AC (2011) Top-down modulation: Bridging selective attention and working memory. Trends Cognit Sci 16: 129–135.

52. Cohen JD, Dunbar K, McClelland JL (1990) On the control of automatic processes: A parallel distributed processing account of the Stroop effect. Psychol Rev 97: 332–361.    

53. Brown JW, Braver TS (2005) Learned predictions of error likelihood in the anterior cingulate cortex. Science 307: 1118–1121.    

54. Botvinick MM (2007) Conflict monitoring and decision making: Reconciling two perspectives on anterior cingulate function. Cognit Affective Behav Neurosci 7: 356–366.

55. Levy BJ, Anderson MC (2002) Inhibitory processes and the control of memory retrieval. Trends Cognit Sci 6: 299–305.    

56. Levy BJ, Anderson MC (2008) Individual differences in the suppression of unwanted memories: The executive deficit hypothesis. Acta Psychol 127: 623–635.    

57. Levy BJ, Anderson MC (2012) Purging of memories from conscious awareness tracked in the human brain. J Neurosci 32: 16785–16794.

58. Hickok G (2009) Eight problems for the mirror neuron theory of action understanding in monkeys and humans. J Cognit Neurosci 21: 1229–1243.    

59. Schomers MR, Kirilina E, Weigand A, et al. (2015) Causal influence of articulatory motor cortex on comprehending single spoken words: TMS evidence. Cereb Cortex 25: 3894–3902.    

60. Buchsbaum BR (2013) The role of consciousness in the phonological loop: Hidden in plain sight. Front Psychol 4: 496.

61. Buchsbaum BR, D'Esposito M (2008) The search for the phonological store: From loop to convolution. J Cognit Neurosci 20: 762–778.    

62. Dewitt I, Rauschecker JP (2012) Phoneme and word recognitionin the auditory ventral stream. Proc Nat Acad Sci U S A 109: 505–514.    

63. Eggert GH, Wernicke C (1874/1977) Wernicke's works on aphasia: A sourcebook and review. Hague, Netherlands: Mouton.

64. Gazzaniga MS, Ivry RB, Mangun GR (2009) Cognitive neuroscience: The biology of the mind, 3rd edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

65. Peramunage D, Blumstein SE, Myers EB, et al. (2011) Phonological neighborhood effects in spoken word production: An fMRI study. J Cognit Neurosci 23: 593–603.    

66. Scott M (2013) Corollary discharge provides the sensory content of inner speech. Psychol Sci 24: 1824–1830.    

67. Ford JM, Gray M, Faustman WO, et al. (2005) Reduced gamma-band coherence to distorted feedback during speech when what you say is not what you hear. Int J Psychophysiology 57: 143–150.    

68. Mahon BZ, Caramazza A (2008) A critical look at the embodied cognition hypothesis and a new proposal for grounding conceptual content. J Physiol Paris 102: 59–70.

69. Gruber O, Gruber E, Falkai P (2005) Neural correlates of working memory deficits in schizophrenic patients. Ways to establish neurocognitive endophenotypes of psychiatric disorders. Radiologe 45: 153–160.

70. Müller NG, Knight RT (2006) The functional neuroanatomy of working memory: Contributions of human brain lesion studies. Neurosci 139: 51–58.    

71. Sato M, Baciu M, Loevenbruck H, et al. (2004) Multistable representation of speech forms: A functional MRI study of verbal transformations. NeuroImage 23: 1143–1151.    

72. Vallar G, Corno M, Basso A (1992) Auditory and visual verbal short-term memory in aphasia. Cortex 28: 383–389.    

73. Pugh SR, Morsella E, Geisler MW (2014) Involuntary cognitions of positive and negative images: Behavioral consequences and EEG correlates. Poster presented at the Graduate Student Showcase at San Francisco State University, San Francisco.

74. Fiedler K (2017) What constitutes strong psychological science? The (neglected) role of diagnosticity and a priori theorizing. Perspect Psychol Sci 12: 46–61.

75. Nosek BA, Spies JR, Motyl M (2012) Scientific utopia II: Restructuring incentives and practices to promote truth over publishability. Perspect Psychol Sci 7: 615–631.    

76. Dehaene S (2014) Consciousness and the brain: Deciphering how the brain codes our thoughts. New York: Viking.

77. Koch C, Massimini M, Boly M, et al. (2016) Neural correlates of consciousness: Progress and problems. Nat Rev Neurosci 17: 307–321.    

78. Cohen JD, Macwhinney B, Flatt M, et al. (1993) PsyScope: A new graphic interactive environment for designing psychology experiments. Behav Res Methods Instrum Comput 25: 257–271.    

79. Morsella E, Miozzo M (2002) Evidence for a cascade model of lexical access in speech production. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cognit 28: 555–563.

80. Simon JR, Hinrichs JV, Craft JL (1970) Auditory S-R compatibility: Reaction time as a function of ear-hand correspondence and ear-response-location correspondence. J Exp Psychol 86: 97–102.    

81. Spitzer RL, Kroenke K, Williams JBW, et al. (2006) A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder: The GAD-7. Arch Intern Med 166: 1092–1097    

82. Cho H (2015) Cognitive bias in involuntary cognitions toward negative-valenced stimuli in highly anxious/depressive groups. Masters Thesis, San Francisco State University.

83. Bargh JA, Chartrand TL (2000) The mind in the middle: A practical guide to priming and automaticity research, In: Reis HT, Judd CM (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in social and personality psychology, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 253–285.

84. Wundt W (1902/1904) Principles of physiological psychology. Translated from the Fifth German Edition (1904) by Titchener EB, London: Swan Sonnenschein.

85. Woodworth RS (1915) A revision of imageless thought. Psychol Rev 22: 1–27.    

86. Scullin MK, McDaniel MA, Einstein GO (2010) Control of cost in prospective memory: Evidence for spontaneous retrieval processes. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cognit 36: 190–203.

87. Schultz DP, Schultz SE (1996) A history of modern psychology, sixth edition. San Diego: Harbrace College Publishers.

88. Baumeister RF, Vohs KD, DeWall N, et al. (2007) How emotion shapes behavior: Feedback, anticipation, and reflection, rather than direct causation. Pers Social Psychol Rev 11: 167–203.    

89. Firestone C, Scholl BJ (2016) Cognition does not affect perception: Evaluating the evidence for "top-down" effects. Behav Brain Sci 39: 1–77.    

© 2018 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Article outline

Show full outline
Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved