AAAI Publications, Workshops at the Twenty-Fourth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Re-Examining the Mental Imagery Debate with Neuropsychological Data from the Clock Drawing Test
Anupam Guha, Hyungsin Kim, Ellen Do

Last modified: 2010-07-07


Reasoning by the usage of mental images has been the subject of much debate in Cognitive Science, especially among the schools of depictive and descriptive imagistic representations. Whether or not reasoning with mental images involves a mechanism or a process different from language based reasoning is an important question. This paper proposes that any theory which aims for a cohesive whole needs to be constrained by neurophysiological data and such data can be obtained by the Clock Drawing Test. The Clock Drawing Test (CDT) is a screening tool for cognitive impairment and can be used as a tool to test resilience of certain factors of visual spatial representations. Thus, it can help to form an empirical case for which factors are prone to debility and which factors are not during the onset and progress of cognitive impairment from a mental representation point of view. This paper presents 50 CDT tests done on patients with cognitive impairment and analyses the results which support the case for a depictive rather than a descriptive theory for imagistic representations. Lastly, this paper proposes that there is some evidence for a more dynamic and distributed nature of representation in the observations which question the above dichotomy and can be partly explained by certain aspects of the connectionist school of thought.


Mental Imagery; Clock Drawing Test; Visual Reasoning; Symbolic Representations

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