What is mental visualization?


Mental visualization refers to the process of creating mental images and scenarios in one's mind. This technique can enhance learning, memory, and performance across various domains including sports, music, and cognitive tasks. According to , mental visualization engages neural circuits similarly to real experiences. Simple objects can be visualized quickly, whereas complex or rotating objects require more time, demonstrating that the complexity and detail of the image affect the cognitive load 1.

Visualization isn't just recreating an image but involves interactive processes such as moving through spaces or focusing on details. For example, imagining a path from one point to another on a map involves a mental process that reflects the physical distance and complexity 2.

In terms of practical application, mental training using visualization should be brief, simple, and repetitive. This approach helps in engaging with neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections, thereby aiding in learning and performance enhancement 3.

Mental Visualization

Andrew discusses the classic work of mental visualization by Roger Shepard and Stephen Kauslin. Mental visualization of simple objects is easy and fast, but rotating those objects in the mind's eye takes longer. The time it takes to generate and rotate a visual image scales directly with the image's complexity, which is important for mental training and understanding how our brains work.

Huberman Lab

Science-Based Mental Training & Visualization for Improved Learning | Huberman Lab Podcast