The heterogenous and dynamic nature of mental images: An empirical study
This article addresses the problem of the nature of mental imagery from a new perspective. It suggests that sign-theoretical approach as elaborated by C. S. Peirce can give a better and more comprehensive explanation of mental imagery. Our empirical findings follow the methodology of cognitive semiotics and they show that (i) properties of mental images are heterogeneous in nature; (ii) properties of mental images are dependent on the characteristics of object-stimulus; (iii) properties of mental images are dependent on individual differences in imaginary capacities. This suggests that, contrary to representational accounts, mental imagery is not based on one dominant representational format. Imagery constitutes a complex system of signs consisting of several sign elements and dynamic relations. A sign-theoretical account may give a better explanation of the nature of mental imagery, as it accommodates heterogenous evidence from this experiment.