Imagery and Verbal Strategies in Spatial Memory for Route and Survey Descriptions

Ioanna Markostamou, Sol Morrissey, Michael Hornberger

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Being able to represent and remember verbally-encoded information about spatial environments from different perspectives is important for numerous daily activities. The present study examined how frequently individuals spontaneously engage in visual mental imagery and verbal rehearsal strategies in memory recall of spatial descriptions, and whether using certain strategies is associated with better recall performance. Memory recall for route (person-centred) and survey (object-centred) spatial descriptions was examined in a sample of 105 neurotypical individuals, who also reported to what extent they used route- and survey-based mental imagery and verbal rehearsal strategies in each description. Results showed that participants favoured a path visualisation strategy to recall the route description and a map visualisation strategy to recall the survey description. Regression models further showed that employing both imagery and verbal strategies was associated with better recall for both route and survey descriptions, although imagery strategies held a higher predictive power. The present findings highlight the fact that the spontaneous use of internal strategies in the form of visual imagery and verbal rehearsal is ubiquitous when recalling spatial descriptions and a core part of efficient spatial memory functioning.
Original languageEnglish
Article number403
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number4
Early online date20 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2024


  • navigation
  • spatial perspective
  • spatial memory
  • route
  • memory strategies
  • spatial descriptions
  • imagery
  • survey


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