THE MIND'S EYE: Imagery in Everyday Life by Robert Sommer

THE MIND'S EYE: Imagery in Everyday Life

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Robert Sommer is a psychologist who argues gently, persuasively, for enriching sensory awareness, adding vivid images and sensory memories to the mental store. Individuals are unique in the way they process information. Some are verbalizers, some auralizers, and so on. School learning tends to downplay imagery as it emphasizes grammar, structure, rote memory, abstraction. Yet all the sensory channels can be educated through experience and training. You can concentrate on the details of an object, visualize it turned on a side, photograph it in different positions; you can make ""smell maps"" of the landscape, and so forth. Sommer is the first to criticize his own discipline for its long neglect of imagery. However, cognitive psychologists are coming to the fore with studies of children. Some of Sommer's most interesting chapters describe exceptional people, like the famous Russian memory expert ""S"" whose life could be described as trees galore and no forests, Just the opposite was true of Sommer's ""abstract"" colleague ""R"" who describes how easily he can get lost on the way home, how unmemorable are the faces of friends, etc. The book deals with a variety of loosely connected themes--why the new math failed, how mnemonic systems work, uses of imagery in architectural design. But the intelligence and clear writing compensate for this somewhat random collection of topics.

Pub Date: May 31st, 1978
Publisher: Delacorte