Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ)
The Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ) was published in 1973 by the British psychologist David Marks (Marks, 1973). The VVIQ consists of 16 items in four groups of 4 items in which the participant is invited to consider the image formed in thinking about a specific scenes and situations. The vividness of the image is rated along a 5-point scale. The questionnaire has been widely used as a measure of individual differences in vividness of visual imagery. This large body of evidence confirms that the VVIQ is a valid and reliable psychometric measure of visual image vividness.
Marks' (1973) paper has been cited in more than 400 studies of mental imagery in a variety of fields including cognitive psychology, clinical psychology and neuropsychology. The procedure can be carried out with eyes closed and/or with eyes open. The total score on the VVIQ is a predictor of the person's performance in a variety of cognitive, motor, and creative tasks. For example, Marks (1973) reported that high vividness scores correlate with the accuracy of recall of coloured photographs.
Marks (1995) published a new version of the VVIQ, the VVIQ2. This questionnaire consists of twice the number of items and reverses the rating scale so that higher scores reflect higher vividness. Rodway, Gillies and Schepman (2006) used a novel long-term change detection task to determine whether participants with low and high vividness scores on the VVIQ2 showed any performance differences. Rodway et al. (2006) found that high vividness participants were significantly more accurate at detecting salient changes to pictures compared to low vividness participants. This replicated an earlier study by Gur and Hilgard (1975).
Recent studies have found that individual differences in VVIQ scores can be used to predict changes in a person's brain while visualizing different activities. For example, Cui et al. (2007) used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the association between early visual cortex activity relative to the whole brain while participants visualised themselves or another person bench pressing or stair climbing. The investigators found that reported image vividness correlates with the relative fMRI signal in visual corex. Thus individual differences in the vividness of visual imagery can be measured objectively. The subjective experience of forming a mental image and objective measurement of visual cortical activity show a strong and significant relationship.
- Cui, X., Jeter, C.B., Yang, D., Montague, P.R.,& Eagleman, D.M. (2007). "Vividness of mental imagery: Individual variability can be measured objectively". Vision Research, 47, 474-478.
Available online at: http://www.hnl.bcm.tmc.edu/articles/ScienceDirect2007.pdf
- Gur, R.C. & Hilgard, E.R. (1975). "Visual imagery and discrimination of differences between altered pictures simultaneously and successively presented". British Journal of Psychology, 66, 341-345.
- Marks, D.F. (1973). "Visual imagery differences in the recall of pictures". British Journal of Psychology, 64, 17-24.
- Marks, D.F. (1995). "New directions for mental imagery research". Journal of Mental Imagery, 19, 153-167.
- Rodway, P., Gillies, K. & Schepman, A. (2006). "Vivid imagers are better at detecting salient changes". Journal of Individual Differences, 27, 218-228.