Refractive Errors Affect the Vividness of Visual Mental Images

Liana Palermo, Raffaella Nori, Laura Piccardi, Fabrizio Zeri, Antonio Babino, Fiorella Giusberti, Cecilia Guariglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hypothesis that visual perception and mental imagery are equivalent has never been explored in individuals with vision defects not preventing the visual perception of the world, such as refractive errors. Refractive error (i.e., myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism) is a condition where the refracting system of the eye fails to focus objects sharply on the retina. As a consequence refractive errors cause blurred vision.We subdivided 84 individuals according to their spherical equivalent refraction into Emmetropes (control individuals without refractive errors) and Ametropes (individuals with refractive errors). Participants performed a vividness task and completed a questionnaire that explored their cognitive style of thinking before their vision was checked by an ophthalmologist. Although results showed that Ametropes had less vivid mental images than Emmetropes this did not affect the development of their cognitive style of thinking; in fact, Ametropes were able to use both verbal and visual strategies to acquire and retrieve information. Present data are consistent with the hypothesis of equivalence between imagery and perception.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere65161
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 5 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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