Individual Differences, Imagery and the Visual Impedance Effect


The visual impedance effect describes the fact that unnecessary visual information can impede reasoning (Knauff & Johnson-Laird, 2002). We explored how this effect is modulated by individual differences in reasoning styles. The main hypothesis of the present work is that the magnitude of the impedance effect depends on the degree to which people use visual mental images during thinking. We conducted two experiments with participants with highly imagistic and highly verbal reasoning strategies. The relational inferences differed in how easily they could be visualized. Our results indicate that (1) verbalizers do not show the visual impedance effect, and (2) that people with a high preference for mental imagery try to imagine even non-visual information visually, always showing the strongest impedance by visualization.

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