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Email: John McCrone to Larry Victor

Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
09:31 PM ET (US)
IF "mental imagery" would be defined as "sensory readiness", then what you say might follow. I don't feel that readiness is adequate. Readiness, to me, implies a state existing prior to the initiation of the process that may lead to imagery.

What I think you mean, is not this, but that as the process begins, it "sends signals ahead" to make "ready" an infusion of more neural energy. Explicit imagery comes when the "ready pattern" is amplified. I see this as a possible aspect of perceptual images, and thus all images. And, yes, it may be a factor in my lack of imagery, where the infustion system, the amplifier, is not functioning.

Yet, what I DO EXPERIENCE when ordinary mental imagery is lacking is MUCH MORE that the readiness for the image - it is what is behind the image that would give it meaning. Or, so I speculate.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
09:24 PM ET (US)
I don't see the processes as exclusive of each other, both could be operative. I really don't resonate with my lack of imagery being due to a constraint on anticipation.

Indeed, as I think of "anticipation", I can see how it might be linked to feedback. The first of the image could be maintained by feedback and this gives rise to the feeling of anticipation.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
09:19 PM ET (US)
My "conceptual-emotive imagery" is MUCH MORE the pre-imagery. Lacking explicit, concrete, sensory-like images my experientials tap into the larger context that would give meaning to the specifics.

I believe that most people have "conceptual-emotive imagery" but it is usually masked by the more explicit sensory-type images and there is no subjective differentiation. But, from my experience there are very few who are able to directly experience what I call "conceptual emotive imagery" as a distinct experiential.

I ALSO have what you would call pre-imagery when (if I had imagery) I would be experiencing imagery.

This is strongest when I have a "topological" sense of the arrangment of furniture in a room. This is NOT visual. It is more associated with my MOVING my head and body in the space being thought of. Yet, there is an orientation relative to my head that might correspond to the location of an imaged object, if imaged.

Sometimes I can experience the "massiveness" of what might be at that location if I could image.

I have experienced a face a few times this way, as if it were nose to nose with me. No visuals, but a sense of direction to what would abstractly be labeled eyes, etc. I haven't had this in many years.

I must repeat that NONE of these experientials are sensory-like. They contain aspects that might be abstracted from a sensory experience - but in my case they seem to be more foundational and the details are missing.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
09:08 PM ET (US)
I literally have NO VISUAL MEMORY. Thus there is no imagery to help me find lost keys, etc. I cannot image what anyone looks like, EVER. But I can recognize faces that I am familiar with; but am often unsure and have no ability to bring up an image for comparison.

My physical coordination is poor and it is very difficult for me to learn new motions. A workshop I attended led by Jean Houston was very frustrating. She asked us to imagine our bodies in a different position, focus on it and make it the real position. Then move into it. I could not imagine my body in any position other than it was in -- and I really don't even imagine my body at all. I have NO BODY IMAGE. I feel parts of my body only when they are touched. Yet, I know others who report being able to image their internal organs.

I learned to pay golf and ping-pong fairly well, but I was terrible at all other sports. I can swim rather well. Dancing is difficult - but at one time I was quite good at Square Dancing.

I have discovered that dancers and atheletes usually have strong body sensing AND imagery. Dancers report that they can watch another dancer as they sit and experience their bodies as dancing. Often then can then do that dance after only viewing it. Many lovers of dance report that in addition to viewing the dance and hearing the music, their body images AS A DANCER make the experience special.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08:57 PM ET (US)
I don't understand why lacking auditory imagery should be "surprizing". Many people lack such auditory imagery - some can only image speech, some only music, some both - as well as other "sounds".

Humming and subliminal speech is NOT imagery. I do not have auditory or visual experiences, like imagery, other than literal perception of humming.

I don't "hear thoughts in my inner voice". It is difficult to describe the modality of when I do subvocalize speech. It is more a tactile sense of the biological actions associated with speaking.

I remember reading of research that when a person hears speech there is subliminal action of the speech centers as if they were speaking what they heard. That is, speech is a form of gesture. I would like to learn more about this.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08:49 PM ET (US)
MY FIRST VISUAL IMAGE. Although I have written about it elsewhere, I will do so again, here.

I was a second year graduate student in physics at the Univ of Chicago. As I tell the story today, I have no memory of the actual event, I was lying in bed after having seen Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. I don't believe that I was asleep, and the image was never considered as a dream.

My vision field showed a mountain silloited against a brightening sky background. A string of small figures were climbing the mountain - probably led by Death as in the film. It was so brief that there was little time to think or control the observation. During the vision, which lasted only a few seconds, at the most, the sun rose above the mountain and blinded me. Although I had no prior memory of visual imagery, it was the intensity of the sun that caught my attention. I was not able to replay the image.

I got up and went to some of my friends in the dorm to tell them of my experience. It was at that time that I learned that others had visual imagery and that I normally lacked it -- as this was the first imagery I could remember.

I have had intense visual images a few times when using LSD. These are described elsewhere.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
02:44 PM ET (US)
I usually don't through a list. I have not eaten breakfast today and I am having difficulty coming up with when I last ate breakfast. Ah! I cooked French Toast yesterday morning at the request of Eloise.

I had to wait about a minute. During this time the idea popped up of driving to Dunkin Donuts for my grandson's birthday two days ago. This was immediately followed by the idea of the french toast.

There were no visuals or any other sensory-like experiences for the "ideas" popping up. I didn't say to myself any sentences, but the terms "french toast" and "Dunkin Donuts" were PART of the overall experience BUT NOT the primary feature. I might have had the experiences without the words, but when writing now as I am doing, words accompanying ideas can be expected.

The, what was the primary experience like? What do I mean by "idea"? This is difficult, because there are no sensory-like referrants that I can point to. Even metaphors and analogies are difficult.

Let me try. Try thinking as many concrete thoughts related to "french toast" - each specific instances. "Behind" them is a common factor. Now, remove all the concrete examples from consciousness as well as the term "french toast", yet experience the background-context - the essense. That is what most of my thinking is like. These are not categories, although categories could be partly mapped on them.

Again, try to experience "dog" without having any associated experience of any specific dog or breed. Not even a chart showing pictures of the many breeds. Experience the abstraction dog concretely. There is an associated neural-molecular process associated with this abstraction - let it ALONE be active.

What makes the right answer seem right? A good question.

When it is right, it feels right. When I am uncertain, it feels uncertain. I will need to think more on this.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
02:31 PM ET (US)
I remember the front door question. Did you ask it in a previous email or is it a standard question?

I cannot answer ANY question by bringing up an image and examining the image for the answer. A question I often use with a person is to ask them to close their eyes and ask them about something I am wearing - like the number of buttons on my shirt. Many report doing it visually.

I can answer now that the front screen door is black and the wooden door stained lightly. I don't visualize, but I do sense an essense as I think of each door, but the essense doesn't contain the answer. The answer comes from my having verbally noted to myself some of their characteristics while cleaning the door. It is not that I think "black" or "stained wood" -- the terms POP into my mind or if we were talking I would say the words and hear them myself at the same time you would hear them.

Just how my mind works, will be explored elsewhere in this forum. But, I can say that I NEVER get answers from imagery in any modality BECAUSE there are no images to examine.

I have NO SENSORY MEMORY. Sensory information is stored, but it cannot be accessed directly from explicit consciousness.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
11:18 PM ET (US)
This topic is a satellite to the QT document:


Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
11:12 PM ET (US)
This discussion space is for comments on the document "Email: John McCrone to Larry Victor".

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