mental representation

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See also chunking; dual coding theory; encoding.

1. In theories of cognition and perception based on ‘direct realism’, a direct mapping of sensory stimuli in the brain. For a semiotician, this would be an indexical model. See also direct perception.

2.Mental models: in psychological theories such as constructivism, the hypothesized concept that individuals generate internal abstract models of external situations. This is commonly invoked in relation to visual perception, in which 3D-models of spatial relations may be posited: e.g. in the work of the British psychologist David Marr (1945–80). It is also used to explain the making of inferences in the comprehension of discourse (compare frame; schema). For a semiotician, if such representations are spatialized and based on resemblance, this would be an iconic model.

3.Propositional representation (symbolic representation): a hypothesized information-processing concept that individuals internally encode information into syntactical structures analogous to those of language: a universal ‘language of the mind’. For a semiotician, the arbitrariness of the symbol system would make this a symbolic model.

Subjects: Media Studies.

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