Visual mental imagery is a cognitive experience characterised by the activation of the mental representation of an object or scene in the absence of the corresponding stimulus. According to the analogical theory, mental representations have a pictorial nature that preserves the spatial characteristics of the environment that is mentally represented. This cognitive experience shares many similarities with the experience of visual perception, including eye movements. The mental visualisation of a scene is accompanied by eye movements that reflect the spatial content of the mental image, and which can mirror the deformations of this mental image with respect to the real image, such as asymmetries or size reduction. The present article offers a concise overview of the main theories explaining the interactions between eye movements and mental representations, with some examples of the studies supporting them. It also aims to explain how ocular-tracking could be a useful tool in exploring the dynamics of spatial mental representations, especially in pathological situations where these representations can be altered, for instance in unilateral spatial neglect.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Visual imagery, Ocular-tracking, Bi-dimensional regression, Mental representation of space