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Imagination Can Influence Perception, Researchers Find

Imagining something with our mind's eye is a task we engage in frequently, whether we're daydreaming, conjuring up the face of a childhood friend, or trying to figure out exactly where we might have parked the car. But how can we tell whether our own mental images are accurate or vivid when we have no direct comparison? That is, how do we come to know and judge the contents of our own minds?
Mental imagery is typically thought to be a private phenomenon, which makes it difficult to test people's metacognition of - or knowledge about - their own mental imagery. But a novel study, to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, capitalises on the visual phenomenon of binocular rivalry as a way to test this kind of metacognition.

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