The VVIQ of 16 items was published in 1973. An extended version with 32 items, the “VVIQ-2”, was published in 1995. The instructions, rating scale, and items are reproduced below. Researchers are free to use this questionnaire without seeking permission from the author.
Visual imagery refers to the ability to visualize, that is, the ability to form mental pictures, or to ‘see in the mind’s eye’. Marked individual differences are found in the strength and clarity of reported visual imagery and these differences are of considerable psychological interest.
The aim of this test is to determine the vividness of your visual imagery. The items of the test will possibly bring certain images to your mind. You are asked to rate the vividness of each image by reference to the five-point scale given below. For example, if your image is ‘vague and dim’, then give it a rating of 4. After each item, write the appropriate number in the box provided.
Before you turn to the items, familiarize yourself with the different categories on the rating scale. Throughout the test, refer to the rating scale when judging the vividness of each image. Try to do each item separately, independent of how you may have done other items.
This test consists of 32 items to be imaged with your eyes closed. When we say “eyes closed”, we mean the question is read, you close your eyes, an image is formed with them closed, and then open them to write the score. Please refer to the scale scores throughout the test when you judge the vividness of each image. Please do not go to the next page until you have completed the items on the page you are doing, and do not look at the items you’ve already covered. Try to score each item separately and independently of how you scored the other items.
Perfectly clear and as vivid as normal vision …………………………………5
Clear and reasonably vivid ………………………………………………………..4
Moderately clear and vivid ………………………………………………………..3
Vague and dim ……………………………………………………………………….2
No image at all, you only “know” that you are thinking of the object ….1
Think of some relative or friend whom you frequently see (but who is not with you at present) and consider carefully the picture that comes before your mind’s eye.
1 The exact contour of face, head, shoulders and body. [ ]
2 Characteristic poses of head, attitudes of body etc. [ ]
3 The precise carriage, length of step, etc. in walking. [ ]
4 The different colours worn in some familiar clothes. [ ]
Think of the rising sun. Consider carefully the picture that comes before your mind’s eye.
5 The sun is rising above the horizon into a hazy sky. [ ]
6 The sky clears and surrounds the sun with blueness. [ ]
7 Clouds. A storm blows up, with flashes of lightening. [ ]
8 A rainbow appears. [ ]
Think of the front of a shop which you often go to. Consider the picture that comes before your mind’s eye.
9 The overall appearance of the shop from the opposite side of the road. [ ]
10 A window display including colours, shape and details of individual items for sale. [ ]
11 You are near the entrance. The colour, shape and details of the door. [ ]
12 You enter the shop and go to the counter. The counter assistant serves you. Money changes hands. [ ]
Think of a country scene which involves trees, mountains and a lake. Consider the picture that comes before your mind’s eye.
13 The contours of the landscape. [ ]
14 The colour and shape of the trees. [ ]
15 The colour and shape of the lake. [ ]
16 A strong wind blows on the tree and on the lake causing waves. [ ]
Think of being driven in a fast-moving car by a relative or friend along a major highway. Consider the picture that comes into your mind’s eye.
17 You observe the heavy traffic travelling at maximum speed around your car. The overall appearance of vehicles, their colours, sizes and shapes. [ ]
18 Your car accelerates to overtake the traffic directly in front of you. You see and urgent expression on the face of the driver and the people in the other vehicles as you pass. [ ]
19 A large truck is flashing its headlight directly behind. Your car quickly moves over to let the truck pass. The driver signals with a friendly wave. [ ]
20 You see a broken-down vehicle beside the road. Its lights are flashing. The driver is looking concerned and she is using a mobile phone. [ ]
Think of the beach by the ocean on a warm summer’s day. Consider the picture that comes before your mind’s eye.
21 The overall appearance and colour of the water, surf, and sky. [ ]
22 Bathers are swimming and splashing about in the water. Some are playing with a brightly coloured beach ball. [ ]
23 An ocean liner crosses the horizon. It leaves a trail of smoke in the blue sky. [ ]
24 A beautiful air balloon appears with four people aboard. The balloon drifts past you, almost directly overhead. The passengers wave and smile. You wave and smile back at them. [ ]
Think of a railway station. Consider the picture that comes before your mind’s eye.
25 The overall appearance of the station viewed from in front of the main entrance. [ ]
26 You walk into the station. The colour, shape and details of the entrance hall. [ ]
27 You approach the ticket office, go to a vacant counter and purchase your ticket.
28 You walk to the platform and observe other passengers and the railway lines. A train arrives. You climb aboard. [ ]
Finally, think of a garden with lawns, bushes, flowers and shrubs. Consider the picture that comes before your mind’s eye.
29 The overall appearance and design of the garden. [ ]
30 The colour and shape of the bushes and shrubs. [ ]
31 The colour and appearance of the flowers. [ ]
32 Some birds fly down onto the lawn and start pecking for food. [ ]
Marks, D. F. (1973). Visual imagery differences in the recall of pictures. British journal of Psychology, 64(1), 17-24.
Marks, D. F. (1995). New directions for mental imagery research. Journal of Mental Imagery, 19(3-4), 153–167.
Marks, D.F. The Action Cycle Theory of Perception and Mental Imagery. Vision 2023, 7, 12. https://doi.org/10.3390/vision7010012
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