Visual Imagery

Visual imagery is the ability and state of having images in the mind either from memories or imaginations (Yolton 1956). It also the information that passes through the brain as though something is being perceived while, in the real sense, nothing is happening. Visual imagery is applied in coping with stressing occurrences by having past or the needed memories. This can be used to better one’s performance by reducing sensitivity over some activities that happened in the past.

Visual imagery may come in different forms on different people and under different conditions. Some will experience sight of images while some will smell a non-existent smell. In order to have this response, there must be a stimulus that will trigger a reaction. When the stimulus is available, clear images will be formed in the brain of physical presence, touch or smell. However, this stimulus is not the actual image that is on the mind, but instead it is something that one associates with the image created.

As opposed to verbal imagery, visual imagery that includes photos and visual objects are easier to retain (Bowler 1970). The brain will remember something that was seen well then something that was said. This is because visual objects create more concrete image on the brain that can be remembered easily. It is also noted that, imagery is more realistic if real images are used or if the images require less interpretation. If a visual image will not require further explanation after display, then it will be easily remembered than the visual that is complicated and in need of more explanations.

Images in mind can either be seen or created. Images are created in the mind through imaginations. These images created by imaginations will stick to the brains only if the person can get a direct relationship between the imagination and the real image he or she has. The size of the pictures displayed will also have an impact on the person in question. Large pictures will have longer lasting effects while small pictures may be forgotten fast.

Advertisers have also discovered that visual imagery plays a great role (Meir 2000). Adverts with visual displays are more likely to have a longer lasting effect on the audience than just a verbal advert. An advert with photos or any other visual display is likely to express the emotions to the target audience. Display of emotions will go a long way as the audience will feel something they can relate.

Imaginations might create as a perfect picture in the mind as the actual picture in the mind. Radio targets more on this act of creating a vivid picture on the mind to help someone remember what is being said. The language the radio will use will be more compelling but if the listener does not create a picture in his or her own mind, then most likely the memory will not last for long.


Yolton, J.W. (1956). John Locke and the Way of Ideas. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bowler, G.H. (1970). Imagery as a relational organizer in associative learning. Journal of verbal

Learning and verbal behaviour, 10(1), 529-553.

Meir, D. (2000). The accelerated learning handbook. NY: McGraw-Hill.

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