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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Mental imagery is one of the cognitive functions that has received a lot of attention in the past 40 years both from philosophers and cognitive psychologists. Recently, researchers started to use neuroimaging techniques in order to tackle fundamental properties of mental images such as their depictive nature—which was fiercely debated for almost 30 years. Results from neuroimaging, brain-damaged patients, and transcranial magnetic stimulation studies converged in showing that visual, spatial and motor mental imagery relies on the same basic brain mechanisms used respectively in visual perception, spatial cognition, and motor control. Thus, neuroimaging and lesions studies have proved critical to answer the imagery debate between depictive and propositionalist theorists. Partly because of the controversy that surrounded the nature of mental images, the neural bases of mental imagery are probably more closely defined than those of any other higher cognitive functions.

Keywords: visual mental imagery, spatial mental imagery, motor mental imagery, visual perception, neuroimaging, brain-damaged patients, transcranial magnetic stimulation

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