The role of mental imagery in creative work by Fine Art students

Perez-Fabello, Maria Jose and Felisberti, Fatima Maria (2017) The role of mental imagery in creative work by Fine Art students. In: Visual Science of Art Conference (VSAC); 25 - 27 Aug 2017, Berlin, Germany. (Unpublished)


Mental imagery is a product of our imagination. It makes it possible for us to visualize people, objects or situations without them being present. Freed from the constraints of reality, images are more flexible than perceived objects and may be transformed and modified endlessly. Playing with our imagination is the key to being creative in any possible aspect (see, González & Campos, 1998). However, there are different forms of imagination which are closely related to the kind of activity each individual carries out. This essay delves into the role of mental imagery in the field of fine arts. It is based on a series of studies about image processing styles and dissociative experiences by fine art students and how these features are related to their creativity and artistic production. Our final conclusions reveal that these students have a cognitive style of object image as opposed either to a cognitive style of spatial image or to a verbal style. On the one hand, this particular processing style determines several creative activities. On the other hand, fine art students are clearly prone to certain dissociative experiences (e.g., absorption, fantasy-proneness and daydreaming) which make them distinct. In sum, both features have a direct impact on imagery, creativity and artistic production. To conclude, new directions are proposed to take the previous research a step further.

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