chapter  6
Nonverbal Recall
Pages 24

One of the simplest demonstrations of the conceptual nature of imagery was shown many years ago by Carmichael, Hogan, and Walters (1932). These investigators showed people nonsense line drawings that were given different labels. For example, a figure consisting of two small circles connected by a horizontal line was labeled either as eyeglasses or a dumbbell. When the subjects were later asked to draw the forms from memory, it became obvious that the labels had influenced the nature of the image that was recalled. The figures subjects drew were recognizably more like eyeglasses or dumbbells depending on the label that had originally accompanied them. This example involves verbalization, of course, but the principle is the same for nonverbal processing. How we conceptualize a figure at the time of encoding is what is potentially accessible at a later time. If we have conceptualized two circles connected by a line as eyeglasses, then something that looks like eyeglasses is what we will recall.