Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Influence of the Instructions on the Performance and Establishment of Memorization Strategies in Space Judgments

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Influence of the Instructions on the Performance and Establishment of Memorization Strategies in Space Judgments

Article excerpt

Studies of visual space perception have been assuming that people have an internal representation of the physical space that surrounds them. A variety of psychophysical procedures has been used in an attempt to measure the properties of visual space. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the accuracy of the mental representation and the strategies adopted to acquire and retain visuo-spatial information of a configuration as a function of two types of instructions. Thirty-eight undergraduate and graduate students participated in the study and were distributed in perceptive and mnemonic experimental conditions. The effect of the instructions (intentional and incidental) on the representation of the distances among the objects of the scene was estimated using exponents of power function, based on the reproduction of the distances among the stimuli of the scene. The results revealed that judgments made under intentional instructions were more frequently based on strategies related to the location of the stimuli, whereas judgments originating from incidental instructions were based on strategies related to the name of the stimuli. It was observed that the intentional instruction facilitated a more accurate mental representation of the observed experimental configuration, enhancing participants' performance.

Keywords: instructions, strategies, visuo-spatial perception, mental representation, spatial configuration

Los estudios sobre la percepción visual del espacio asumen que las personas tienen una representación interna del espacio físico que les rodea. Con la finalidad de medir las propiedades de tal percepción visual se han empleado distintos procedimientos psicofísicos. El propósito de este trabajo fue el de evaluar la precisión de la representación mental y de las estrategias adoptadas para adquirir y retener la información del espacio visible en función de dos tipos de instrucciones. Treinta y ocho estudiantes universitarios y licenciados participaron en el estudio, distribuyéndose en las condiciones experimentales perceptiva y mnemónica. Se estimó el efecto de las instrucciones (intencionales e incidentales) sobre la representación de las distancias entre los objetos del escenario empleando los exponentes de la función potencial, basado en la reproducción de las distancias entre los estímulos del escenario. Los resultados mostraron que los juicios realizados bajo instrucciones intencionales se basaban con mayor frecuencia en estrategias relacionadas con la ubicación de los estímulos, mientras que los juicios bajo instrucciones incidentales se basaban en estrategias relacionadas con el nombre de los estímulos. Se observó que las instrucciones intencionales facilitaron una representación mental más precisa de la configuración experimental observada, mejorando la ejecución de los participantes.

Palabras clave: instrucciones, estrategias, percepción viso-espacial, representación mental, configuración espacial

It is usually said that individuals can generate an image of a certain scene or object even if it is not present in their environment. People often refer to this as if they had "seen it in their minds." The visual perception of space has been the focus of studies for several decades (Foley, Ribeiro-Filho, & Da Silva, 2004; Hershenson, 1998; Light & Zelinski, 1983; Loomis, 2003; Pezdek, 1983; Shepard & Metzler, 1971) as, in many tasks, individuals need information to produce an appropriate sequence of actions in the environment.

For example, when people must decide what direction they should take to go from one place to another, they often trust their memory to locate objects/locations in an environment. A great deal of research has been carried out in order to achieve a better understanding of these visual representations, usually referred to as mental images (Diwadkar & McNamara, 1997; Koriat, Goldsmith, & Pansky, 2000; Simons & Wang, 1998; Wang & Simons, 1999). …

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