Why do we need visual imagery?

In this talk I will discuss studies attempting to understand the relationship between visual imagery, subjective experience of memory content and their relationship to objective performance in cognitive tasks. Firstly, I will discuss evidence from brain stimulation studies demonstrating that memory content can be brought to visual awareness – indicative of overlap in the representations associated with internally generated and external induced percepts. Secondly, I will present studies indicating that memory content and its subjective experience do not always go hand-in-hand. Finally, I will present new data on the cognitive profile of individuals’ incapable of visual imagery. These studies indicate that visual imagery may be particularly important for high precision working memory and certain tasks requiring manipulation of memory content.