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Visual memory is a part of memory preserving some characteristics of our senses pertaining to visual experience. We are able to place in memory information that resembles objects, places, animals or people in sort of a mental image. Some authors refer to this experience as an “our mind's eye” through which we can retrieve from our memory a mental image of the original object, place, animal or person.

The first scientist to give serious consideration to visual imagery was Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911) in the field of individual differences. In his research Galton asked his subjects to describe and rate their visual images on vividness. He was able to demonstrate a wide range of clarity, ranging from vivid mental images to none among his test subjects (Galton, 1883).

Since this way of judging mental image has very little scientific objectivity, psychologists devised more objective ways of evaluating mental images, based on how much information can be retrieved from them. Overall, there are not conclusive data that would support any benefits from visual mnemonics (Baddeley, 1976).

Eidetic imageryEdit

Eidetic imagery is perhaps the only kind that produces actual visual memory that can be looked at similarly as if at looking the actual picture. Lake, Haber and Haber produced a study in which they presented a subject with an image for 30 seconds. After removing the image the subjects ware asked whether they could see anything. In a study of elementary school children they presented them with an illustration of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. After removing it some children were describing with a vivid accuracy the image they have seen. (Haber, 1969)

Eidetic imagery seems to have more effect on children since the adult subjects did not describe similar experience. Koslyn assigns this difference to the lack of verbal and conceptual systems in children, when comparing to adult (Koslyn, 1980, 1984).

There are two kinds of memory related to eidetic imagery: photographic memory and iconic memory.

Photographic memoryEdit

There is also no supportive evidence for photographic memory. This phenomenon is usually displayed by some individuals' exceptional skills in mental organization.

Iconic memoryEdit

See Iconic memory.

Spatial memoryEdit

spatial memory is the part of memory responsible for recording information about one's environment and its spatial orientation. For example, a person's spatial memory is required in order to navigate around a familiar city, just as a rat's spatial memory is needed to learn the location of food at the end of a maze.

Visuospatial memoryEdit

Visuospatial memory can be considered a subcategory of visual memory because it relies on a cognitive map

See alsoEdit

References & BibliographyEdit

Key textsEdit



  • Gleitman, H.(1991)Psychology, 7, 275-278.

Additional materialEdit



External linksEdit

Types of memory
Articulatory suppression‎ | Auditory memory | Autobiographical memory | Collective memory | Early memories | Echoic Memory | Eidetic memory | Episodic memory | Episodic-like memory  | Explicit memory  |Exosomatic memory | False memory |Flashbulb memory | Iconic memory | Implicit memory | Institutional memory | Long term memory | Music-related memory | Procedural memory | Prospective memory | Repressed memory | Retrospective memory | Semantic memory | Sensory memory | Short term memory | Spatial memory | State-dependent memory | Tonal memory | Transactive memory | Transsaccadic memory | Verbal memory  | Visual memory  | Visuospatial memory  | Working memory  |
Aspects of memory
Childhood amnesia | Cryptomnesia |Cued recall | Eye-witness testimony | Memory and emotion | Forgetting |Forgetting curve | Free recall | Levels-of-processing effect | Memory consolidation |Memory decay | Memory distrust syndrome |Memory inhibition | Memory and smell | Memory for the future | Memory loss | Memory optimization | Memory trace | Mnemonic | Memory biases  | Modality effect | Tip of the tongue | Lethologica | Memory loss |Priming | Primacy effect | Reconstruction | Proactive interference | Prompting | Recency effect | Recall (learning) | Recognition (learning) | Reminiscence | Retention | Retroactive interference | Serial position effect | Serial recall | Source amnesia |
Memory theory
Atkinson-Shiffrin | Baddeley | CLARION | Decay theory | Dual-coding theory | Interference theory |Memory consolidation | Memory encoding | Memory-prediction framework | Forgetting | Recall | Recognition |
Method of loci | Mnemonic room system | Mnemonic dominic system | Mnemonic learning | Mnemonic link system |Mnemonic major system | Mnemonic peg system | [[]] |[[]] |
Neuroanatomy of memory
Amygdala | Hippocampus | prefrontal cortex  | Neurobiology of working memory | Neurophysiology of memory | Rhinal cortex | Synapses |[[]] |
Neurochemistry of memory
Glutamatergic system  | of short term memory | [[]] |[[]] | [[]] | [[]] | [[]] | [[]] |[[]] |
Developmental aspects of memory
Prenatal memory | |Childhood memory | Memory and aging | [[]] | [[]] |
Memory in clinical settings
Alcohol amnestic disorder | Amnesia | Dissociative fugue | False memory syndrome | False memory | Hyperthymesia | Memory and aging | Memory disorders | Memory distrust syndrome  Repressed memory  Traumatic memory |
Retention measures
Benton | CAMPROMPT | Implicit memory testing | Indirect tests of memory | MAS | Memory tests for children | MERMER | Rey-15 | Rivermead | TOMM | Wechsler | WMT | WRAML2 |
Treating memory problems
CBT | EMDR | Psychotherapy | Recovered memory therapy |Reminiscence therapy | Memory clinic | Memory training | Rewind technique |
Prominant workers in memory|-
Baddeley | Broadbent |Ebbinghaus  | Kandel |McGaugh | Schacter  | Treisman | Tulving  |
Philosophy and historical views of memory
Aristotle | [[]] |[[]] |[[]] |[[]] | [[]] | [[]] | [[]] |
Journals | Learning, Memory, and Cognition |Journal of Memory and Language |Memory |Memory and Cognition | [[]] | [[]] | [[]] |


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