One stored and later retrieved for subsequent use (Sternberg

One model of mental representations is the dual- code theory
proposed by Paivio (1969,1971). This theory suggests that they are separate
verbal and non-verbal systems for representing information. In other words,
both pictorial and verbal codes are used to represent information in our minds
and these two codes organise information into knowledge that can be acted on,
stored and later retrieved for subsequent use (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2012).
The types of codes include analog codes that are used to for visual information
by creating mental images of the real word object they are representing. Therefore,
analog codes are the near equivalent representation of the physical stimuli we perceive
in our environment, such as rivers and trees. Symbolic codes are used to form mental
representations of verbal information e.g. words. These codes are a form of
knowledge representation that has been chosen arbitrarily to express something
that does not perceptually bear resemblance to what is being represented (Stenberg
& Stenberg, 2012). The two distinct codes used for mental representation have
been supported by neurological research by Roland and Fridberg (1985). This is
because they found that different brain areas were activated when the participants
where asked to imagine a mnemonic (verbal information) or the route to their
home from a specific location (visual information). This shows there is a
double dissociation between the two systems, therefore illustrating information
can be mentally represented through pictorial and verbal codes.

However, in contrast the propositional theory proposed by
Pylyshyn (1973) argues that we do not primarily store mental representations as
images or mere words as suggested in the dual- code theory but that mental
representations are stored generic codes called propositions. A proposition is
a statement or assertion of the relationship between concepts (Johnson, 1998).
For example, Clark and Chase suggest that according to the propositional view,
both verbal statement and images are mentally represented in terms of their
deep abstract meanings, and not as specific images and words. The shorthand
form known as “predicate calculus” are used to express propositions because
they intend to show how the underlying meaning of knowledge might be
represented. For example, a bottle under a table would be represented by a
formula made of symbols like UNDER(BOTTLE,TABLE).
This theory is supported by Weisberg, 1969. This is because they found participants
recalling words from a previously encountered sentence were more likely to
associate the word given by the experimenter to a word from the same proposition
rather than to a word that had a closer position to the given word. Also,
Ratcliff and Mckoon, 1978 found that participants were faster at recalling a
word that had appeared in a recent sentence when it was immediately precede by
a word form the same proposition than when it is preceded by a word from a
different one. Therefore, the individuals recalled the underlying relationship
between the two words rather than the perceptually and spatial relationship
between the words, indicating that mental representations are stored as propositions
rather than pictures or words.

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