How Imagination Works (Popular Science)

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Popular SciencePopular Science features new Dartmouth research that focuses on what the brain’s “mental workplace” looks like when people manipulate images in their mind.

“Our lab is very interested in the kind of flexible cognitive behaviors that humans have,” Alex Schlegel, a graduate student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and lead author of the study, tells Popular Science. “We can learn new things, we can think of new concepts, seeing things from different perspectives—a lot of this has to do with a very rich mental space, kind of a mental playground.”

Participants in the study were asked to look at pictures of abstract shapes, explains Popular Science. While undergoing an fMRI scan, they were asked to recall or manipulate the images in their mind. “We saw differences in activity all over the brain when we compared to control conditions,” Schlegel tells the magazine. “Rather than being a single area responsible for imagining or manipulating, it seems like lots of areas have to work in concert.”

Read the full story, published 9/16/13 by Popular Science.