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01-05-2007 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2007

Psychological Research 3/2007

Working memory components and imagery instructions in the elaboration of a spatial mental model

Psychological Research > Uitgave 3/2007
Valérie Gyselinck, Rossana De Beni, Francesca Pazzaglia, Chiara Meneghetti, Amandine Mondoloni


The paper investigates the involvement of verbal and visuo-spatial working memory during the processing of spatial texts via a dual-task paradigm. Subjects were presented with three texts describing locations from a route perspective, and had either to imagine themselves moving along a route in surroundings or to rehearse verbal information. Concurrently they had to perform a spatial tapping task, an articulatory task, or no secondary task. Performance on a verification test used to assess the product of comprehension showed that the concurrent tapping task impaired performance in the imagery instructions group but not in the repetition instructions group, and caused the beneficial effect of imagery instructions to vanish. This result was not observed with the articulatory task, where interference effects were similar in both instructions groups. Performance on the concurrent tasks confirmed the pattern obtained with the verification test. In addition, results seem partly dependent on the capacity of spatial working memory as measured by the Corsi Blocks Test. We argue that these results clarify the processes of the construction of a spatial mental model, and confirm that the visuo-spatial working memory is involved in mental imagery.

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