Skip to main content Accessibility help

Mental imagery in psychiatry: conceptual & clinical implications

  • Julie L. Ji (a1), David J. Kavanagh (a2), Emily A. Holmes (a3), Colin MacLeod (a1) and Martina Di Simplicio (a4)...


Mental imagery refers to the experience of perception in the absence of external sensory input. Deficits in the ability to generate mental imagery or to distinguish it from actual sensory perception are linked to neurocognitive conditions such as dementia and schizophrenia, respectively. However, the importance of mental imagery to psychiatry extends beyond neurocognitive impairment. Mental imagery has a stronger link to emotion than verbal-linguistic cognition, serving to maintain and amplify emotional states, with downstream impacts on motivation and behavior. As a result, anomalies in the occurrence of emotion-laden mental imagery has transdiagnostic significance for emotion, motivation, and behavioral dysfunction across mental disorders. This review aims to demonstrate the conceptual and clinical significance of mental imagery in psychiatry through examples of mood and anxiety disorders, self-harm and suicidality, and addiction. We contend that focusing on mental imagery assessment in research and clinical practice can increase our understanding of the cognitive basis of psychopathology in mental disorders, with the potential to drive the development of algorithms to aid treatment decision-making and inform transdiagnostic treatment innovation.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Mental imagery in psychiatry: conceptual & clinical implications
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Mental imagery in psychiatry: conceptual & clinical implications
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Mental imagery in psychiatry: conceptual & clinical implications
      Available formats


This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Dr. Julie L. Ji, School of Psychological Science, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley 6009 WA Australia. (Email:


Hide All
1. Kosslyn, SM, Ganis, G, Thompson, WL. Neural foundations of imagery. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2001; 2(9): 635642.
2. Kosslyn, SM, Seger, C, Pani, JR, Hillger, LA. When is imagery used in everyday life? A diary study. J Ment Imagery. 1990; 14(3–4):131152.
3. Byrne, P, Becker, S, Burgess, N. Remembering the past and imagining the future: a neural model of spatial memory and imagery. Psychol Rev. 2007; 114(2): 340375.
4. Dils, AT, Boroditsky, L. Visual motion aftereffect from understanding motion language. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2010; 107(37): 1639616400.
5. Holmes, EA, Mathews, A. Mental imagery and emotion: a special relationship? Emotion. 2005; 5(4): 489497.
6. Kosslyn, SM. Image and Brain: The Resolution of the Imagery Debate. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 1994.
7. Taylor, SE, Pham, LB, Rivkin, ID. Armor D a. Harnessing the imagination. Am Psychol. 1998; 53(4): 429439.
8. Seligman, MEP, Railton, P, Baumeister, RF, Sripada, C. Navigating Into the Future or Driven by the Past. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2013; 8(2): 119141.
9. Moulton, ST, Kosslyn, SM. Imagining predictions: mental imagery as mental emulation. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009; 364(1521): 12731280.
10. Di Simplicio, M, McInerney, JE, Goodwin, GM, Attenburrow, M–J, Holmes, EA. Revealing the mind’s eye: bringing (mental) images into psychiatry. Am J Psychiatry. 2012; 169(12): 12451246.
11. May, J, Kavanagh, DJ, Andrade, J. The Elaborated Intrusion Theory of desire: a 10-year retrospective and implications for addiction treatments. Addict Behav. 2015; 44(suppl C): 2934.
12. Irish, M, Piolino, P. Impaired capacity for prospection in the dementias—theoretical and clinical implications. Br J Clin Psychol. 2016; 55(1): 4968.
13. Brébion, G, Ohlsen, RI, Pilowsky, LS, David, AS. Visual hallucinations in schizophrenia: confusion between imagination and perception. Neuropsychology. 2008; 22(3): 383389.
14. Di Simplicio, M, McInerney, JE, Goodwin, GM, Attenburrow, MJ, Holmes, EA. Revealing the mind’s eye: bringing (mental) images into psychiatry. Am J Psychiatry. 2012; 169(12): 12451246.
15. Kahneman, D. Experienced utility and objective happiness: A moment-based approach. In: Kahneman D, Tversky A, eds. Choices, Values and Frames. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2003.
16. Boukhechba, M, Gong, J, Kowsari, K, et al. Physiological changes over the course of cognitive bias modification for social anxiety. In: 2018 IEEE EMBS International Conference on Biomedical & Health Informatics (BHI). 2018: 422425
17. Chow, PI, Fua, K, Huang, Y, et al. Using Mobile Sensing to Test Clinical Models of Depression, Social Anxiety, State Affect, and Social Isolation Among College Students. Calvo R, ed. J Med Internet Res. 2017; 19(3): e62.
18. Marks, DF. Visual imagery differences in the recall of pictures. Br J Psychol. 1973; 64(1): 1724.
19. Andrade, J, May, J, Deeprose, C, Baugh, S-J, Ganis, G. Assessing vividness of mental imagery: The Plymouth Sensory Imagery Questionnaire. Br J Psychol. 2014; 105(4): 547563.
20. Reisberg, D, Pearson, DG, Kosslyn, SM. Intuitions and introspections about imagery: the role of imagery experience in shaping an investigator’s theoretical views. Appl Cogn Psychol. 2003; 17(2): 147160.
21. May, J, Andrade, J, Kavanagh, DJ, et al. The craving experience questionnaire: a brief, theory-based measure of consummatory desire and craving. Addiction. 2014; 109(5): 728735.
22. Kavanagh, DJ, Robinson, N, Connolly, J, Connor, J, Andrade, J, May, J. The revised four-factor motivational thought frequency and state motivation scales for alcohol control. Addict Behav. 2018; 87: 6973.
23. Paivio, A. Comparisons of mental clocks. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1978; 4(1): 6171.
24. O’Craven, KM, Kanwisher, N. Mental imagery of faces and places activates corresponding stiimulus-specific brain regions. J Cogn Neurosci. 2000; 12(6): 10131023.
25. Holmes, EA, Lang, TJ, Moulds, ML, Steele, AM. Prospective and positive mental imagery deficits in dysphoria. Behav Res Ther. 2008; 46(8): 976981.
26. Szpunar, KK, Schacter, DL. Get real: effects of repeated simulation and emotion on the perceived plausibility of future experiences. J Exp Psychol Gen. 2013; 142(2): 323327.
27. Di Simplicio, M, Alfarano, G, Ji, JL, Suri, S, Visser, RM, Holmes, EA. Neural activity during simulation of future negative scenarios in individuals with bipolar disorder phenotype. (In prep).
28. Ji, JL, Holmes, EA, MacLeod, C, Murphy, FC. Spontaneous cognition in dysphoria: reduced positive bias in imagining the future. Psychol Res. 2018
29. Pearson, DG, Deeprose, C, Wallace-Hadrill, SMA, Burnett Heyes, S, Holmes, EA. Assessing mental imagery in clinical psychology: a review of imagery measures and a guiding framework. Clin Psychol Rev. 2013; 33(1): 123.
30. Galton, F. Psychometric experiments. Brain. 1879; 2(2): 149162.
31. Pearson, J, Kosslyn, SM. The heterogeneity of mental representation: ending the imagery debate. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2015; 112(33): 1008910092.
32. Barsalou, LW. Grounded cognition. Annu Rev Psychol. 2008; 59(1): 617645.
33. Pylyshyn, ZW. What the mind’s eye tells the mind’s brain: A critique of mental imagery. Psychol Bull. 1973; 80(1): 124.
34. Dijkstra, N, Zeidman, P, Ondobaka, S, van Gerven, MAJ, Friston, K. Distinct top-down and bottom-up brain connectivity during visual perception and imagery. Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1): 5677.
35. Slotnick, SD, Thompson, WL, Kosslyn, SM. Visual mental imagery induces retinotopically organized activation of early visual areas. Cereb Cortex. 2005; 15(10): 15701583.
36. Ehrsson, HH, Geyer, S, Naito, E. Imagery of voluntary movement of fingers, toes, and tongue activates corresponding body-part-specific motor representations. J Neurophysiol. 2003; 90(5): 33043316.
37. Hubbard, TL. Auditory imagery: empirical findings. Psychol Bull. 2010; 136(2): 302329.
38. Berger, CC, Ehrsson, HH. Mental imagery induces cross-modal sensory plasticity and changes future auditory perception. Psychol Sci. 2018; 29(6): 926935.
39. Pearson, J, Naselaris, T, Holmes, EA, Kosslyn, SM. Mental imagery: functional mechanisms and clinical applications. Trends Cogn Sci. 2015; 19(10): 590602.
40. Ji, JL, Heyes, SB, MacLeod, C, Holmes, EA. Emotional mental imagery as simulation of reality: fear and beyond-a tribute to Peter Lang. Behav Ther. 2016; 47(5): 702719.
41. Stokes, M, Thompson, R, Cusack, R, Duncan, J. Top-down activation of shape-specific population codes in visual cortex during mental imagery. J Neurosci. 2009; 29(5): 1565 LP1572.
42. Mechelli, A, Price, CJ, Friston, KJ, Ishai, A. Where bottom-up meets top-down: neuronal interactions during perception and imagery. Cereb Cortex. 2004; 14(11): 12561265.
43. Schacter, DL, Addis, DR, Buckner, RL. Remembering the past to imagine the future: the prospective brain. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2007; 8(9): 657661.
44. Baddeley, AD, Andrade, J. Working memory and the vividness of imagery. J Exp Psychol Gen. 2000; 129(1): 126145.
45. Palombo, DJ, Alain, C, Söderlund, H, Khuu, W, Levine, B. Severely deficient autobiographical memory (SDAM) in healthy adults: A new mnemonic syndrome. Neuropsychologia. 2015; 72(suppl C): 105118.
46. Zeman, A, Dewar, M, Della Sala, S. Lives without imagery - congenital aphantasia. Cortex. 2015; 73(suppl C): 378380.
47. Keogh, R, Pearson, J. The perceptual and phenomenal capacity of mental imagery. Cognition. 2017; 162:124132.
48. Keogh, R, Pearson, J. The blind mind: no sensory visual imagery in aphantasia. Cortex. 2018; 105:5360.
49. Buckner, RL, Snyder, AZ, Shannon, BJ, et al. Molecular, structural, and functional characterization of Alzheimer’s disease: evidence for a relationship between default activity, amyloid, and memory. J Neurosci. 2005; 25(34): 7709 LP7717.
50. Addis, DR, Wong, AT, Schacter, DL. Remembering the past and imagining the future: common and distinct neural substrates during event construction and elaboration. Neuropsychologia. 2007; 45(7): 13631377.
51. Hassabis, D, Kumaran, D, Vann, SD, Maguire, EA. Patients with hippocampal amnesia cannot imagine new experiences. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007; 104(5): 17261731.
52. Okuda, J, Fujii, T, Ohtake, H, et al. Thinking of the future and past: the roles of the frontal pole and the medial temporal lobes. Neuroimage. 2003; 19(4): 13691380.
53. Szpunar, KK, Watson, JM, McDermott, KB. Neural substrates of envisioning the future. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007; 104(2):642647.
54. Addis, DR, Schacter, DL. Constructive episodic simulation: temporal distance and detail of past and future events modulate hippocampal engagement. Hippocampus. 2008; 18(2):227237.
55. Addis, DR, Sacchetti, DC, Ally, BA, Budson, AE, Schacter, DL. Episodic simulation of future events is impaired in mild Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropsychologia. 2009; 47(12): 26602671.
56. Irish, M, Halena, S, Kamminga, J, Tu, S, Hornberger, M, Hodges, JR. Scene construction impairments in Alzheimer’s disease – A unique role for the posterior cingulate cortex. Cortex. 2015; 73(suppl C): 1023.
57. Irish, M, Addis, DR, Hodges, JR, Piguet, O. Exploring the content and quality of episodic future simulations in semantic dementia. Neuropsychologia. 2012; 50(14): 34883495.
58. Irish, M, Hodges, JR, Piguet, O. Episodic future thinking is impaired in the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia. Cortex. 2013; 49(9): 23772388.
59. Irish, M, Piguet, O. The pivotal role of semantic memory in remembering the past and imagining the future. Front Behav Neurosci. 2013; 7: 27.
60. Bechara, A, Tranel, D, Damasio, H. Characterization of the decision-making deficit of patients with ventromedial prefrontal cortex lesions. Brain. 2000; 123(Pt 11): 21892202.
61. Hsiao, JJ, Kaiser, N, Fong, SS, Mendez, MF. Suicidal behavior and loss of the future self in semantic dementia. Cogn Behav Neurol. 2013; 26(2): 8592.
62. Seal, ML, Aleman, A, McGuire, PK. Compelling imagery, unanticipated speech and deceptive memory: neurocognitive models of auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia. Cogn Neuropsychiatry. 2004; 9(1–2): 4372.
63. Aynsworth, C, Nemat, N, Collerton, D, Smailes, D, Dudley, R. Reality monitoring performance and the role of visual imagery in visual hallucinations. Behav Res Ther. 2017; 97: 115122.
64. Winfield, H, Kamboj, SK. Schizotypy and mental time travel. Conscious Cogn. 2010; 19(1): 321327.
65. Holmes, EA, Steel, C. Schizotypy: a vulnerability factor for traumatic intrusions. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2004; 192(1): 2834.
66. Steel, C, Fowler, D, Holmes, EA. Trauma-related intrusions and psychosis: an information processing account. Behav Cogn Psychother. 2005; 33(2): 139152.
67. Barrett, TR. Verbal hallucinations in normals—II: self-reported imagery vividness. Pers Individ Dif. 1993; 15(1): 6167.
68. Crespi, B, Leach, E, Dinsdale, N, Mokkonen, M, Hurd, P. Imagination in human social cognition, autism, and psychotic-affective conditions. Cognition. 2016; 150: 181199.
69. Brébion, G, Ohlsen, RI, Bressan, RA, David, AS. Source memory errors in schizophrenia, hallucinations and negative symptoms: a synthesis of research findings. Psychol Med. 2012; 42(12):25432554.
70. Bentall, RP, Baker, GA, Havers, S. Reality monitoring and psychotic hallucinations. Br J Clin Psychol. 1991; 30(Pt 3): 213222.
71. Barnes, J, Boubert, L, Harris, J, Lee, A, David, AS. Reality monitoring and visual hallucinations in Parkinson’s disease. Neuropsychologia. 2003; 41(5): 565574.
72. Keefe, RSE, Harvey, PD. Cognitive impairment in schizophrenia bt - novel antischizophrenia treatments. In: Geyer MA, Gross G, eds. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg; 2012: 1137.
73. D’Argembeau, A, Raffard, S, Van, der Linden, M. Remembering the past and imagining the future in schizophrenia. J Abnorm Psychol. 2008; 117(1): 247251.
74. Steel, C, Wykes, T, Ruddle, A, Smith, G, Shah, DM, Holmes, EA. Can we harness computerised cognitive bias modification to treat anxiety in schizophrenia? A first step highlighting the role of mental imagery. Psychiatry Res. 2010; 178(3): 451455.
75. Sack, AT, van de Ven, VG, Etschenberg, S, Schatz, D, Linden, DEJ. Enhanced vividness of mental imagery as a trait marker of schizophrenia? Schizophr Bull. 2005; 31(1): 97104.
76. Oertel, V, Rotarska-Jagiela, A, van de Ven, V, et al. Mental imagery vividness as a trait marker across the schizophrenia spectrum. Psychiatry Res. 2009; 167(1–2): 111.
77. Morrison, AS, Amir, N, Taylor, CT. A behavioral index of imagery ability in social anxiety. Cognit Ther Res. 2011; 35(4): 326332.
78. Zarrinpar, A, Deldin, P, Kosslyn, SM. Effects of depression on sensory/motor vs. central processing in visual mental imagery. Cogn Emotion. 2006; 20(6): 737758.
79. Di Simplicio, M, Renner, F, Blackwell, SE, et al. An investigation of mental imagery in bipolar disorder: Exploring “the mind’s eye”. Bipolar Disord. 2016; 18(8): 669683.
80. Wu, JQ, Szpunar, KK, Godovich, SA, Schacter, DL, Hoffman, SG. Episodic future thinking in generalized anxiety disorder. 2016; (617): 18.
81. Vrana, SR, Lang, PJ. Fear imagery and the startle-probe reflex. J Abnorm Psychol. 1990; 99(2): 189197.
82. Witvliet, CVO, Vrana, SR. Psychophysiological responses as indices of affective dimensions. Psychophysiology. 1995; 32(5): 436443.
83. Lang, PJ, Levin, DN, Miller, GA, Kozak, MJ. Fear behavior, fear imagery, and the psychophysiology of emotion: the problem of affective response integration. J Abnorm Psychol. 1983; 92(3): 276306.
84. Weerts, TC, Lang, PJ. Psychophysiology of fear imagery: differences between focal phobia and social performance anxiety. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1978; 46(5): 11571159.
85. Cuthbert, BN, Lang, PJ, Strauss, C, Drobes, D, Patrick, CJ, Bradley, MM. The psychophysiology of anxiety disorder: fear memory imagery. Psychophysiology. 2003; 40(3): 407422.
86. Sabatinelli, D, Bradley, MM, Lang, PJ, Costa, VD, Versace, F. Pleasure rather than salience activates human nucleus accumbens and medial prefrontal cortex. J Neurophysiol. 2007; 98(3): 13741379.
87. Costa, VD, Lang, PJ, Sabatinelli, D, Versace, F, Bradley, MM. Emotional imagery: assessing pleasure and arousal in the brain’s reward circuitry. Hum Brain Mapp. 2010; 31(9): 14461457.
88. Kim, S-E, Kim, J-W, Kim, J-J, et al. The neural mechanism of imagining facial affective expression. Brain Res. 2007; 1145(suppl C): 128137.
89. Lee, S, Ruiz, S, Caria, A, Veit, R, Birbaumer, N, Sitaram, R. Detection of cerebral reorganization induced by real-time fMRI feedback training of insula activation: a multivariate investigation. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2011; 25(3): 259267.
90. Andrade, J, Kavanagh, D, Baddeley, A. Eye-movements and visual imagery: a working memory approach to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Br J Clin Psychol. 1997; 36(Pt 2):209223.
91. Kavanagh, DJ, Freese, S, Andrade, J, May, J. Effects of visuospatial tasks on desensitization to emotive memories. Br J Clin Psychol. 2001; 40(Pt 3): 267280.
92. Engelhard, IM, van den Hout, MA, Janssen, WC, van der Beek, J. Eye movements reduce vividness and emotionality of “flashforwards”. Behav Res Ther. 2010; 48(5): 442447.
93. Engelhard, IM, van den Hout, MA, Dek, ECP, et al. Reducing vividness and emotional intensity of recurrent “flashforwards” by taxing working memory: an analogue study. J Anxiety Disord. 2011; 25(4): 599603.
94. Lilley, SA, Andrade, J, Turpin, G, Sabin-Farrell, R, Holmes, EA. Visuospatial working memory interference with recollections of trauma. Br J Clin Psychol. 2009; 48(Pt 3): 309321.
95. Lau-Zhu, A, Holmes, EA, Butterfield, S, Holmes, J. Selective association between tetris game play and visuospatial working memory: a preliminary investigation. Appl Cogn Psychol. 2017; 31(4): 438445.
96. James, EL, Lau-Zhu, A, Clark, IA, Visser, RM, Hagenaars, MA, Holmes, EA. The trauma film paradigm as an experimental psychopathology model of psychological trauma: intrusive memories and beyond. Clin Psychol Rev. 2016; 47: 106142.
97. Holmes, EA, James, EL, Coode-Bate, T, Deeprose, C. Can playing the computer game “Tetris” reduce the build-up of flashbacks for trauma? A proposal from cognitive science. PLoS One. 2009; 4(1): e4153.
98. Iyadurai, L, Blackwell, SE, Meiser-Stedman, R, et al. Preventing intrusive memories after trauma via a brief intervention involving Tetris computer game play in the emergency department: a proof-of-concept randomized controlled trial. Mol Psychiatry. 2017; (March).
99. Horsch, A, Vial, Y, Favrod, C, et al. Reducing intrusive traumatic memories after emergency caesarean section: A proof-of-principle randomized controlled study. Behav Res Ther. 2017; 94: 3647.
100. Holmes, EA, Lang, TJ, Shah, DM. Developing interpretation bias modification as a “cognitive vaccine” for depressed mood: imagining positive events makes you feel better than thinking about them verbally. J Abnorm Psychol. 2009; 118(1): 7688.
101. Holmes, EA, Mathews, A, Mackintosh, B, Dalgleish, T. The causal effect of mental imagery on emotion assessed using picture-word cues. Emotion. 2008; 8(3): 395409.
102. Nelis, S, Holmes, EA, Palmieri, R, Bellelli, G, Raes, F. Thinking back about a positive event: the impact of processing style on positive affect. Front Psychiatry. 2015; 6: 3.
103. Holmes, EA, Coughtrey, AE, Connor, A. Looking at or through rose-tinted glasses? Imagery perspective and positive mood. Emotion. 2008; 8(6): 875879.
104. Holmes, EA, Geddes, JR, Colom, F, Goodwin, GM. Mental imagery as an emotional amplifier: application to bipolar disorder. Behav Res Ther. 2008; 46(12): 12511258.
105. Carver, CS. Approach, avoidance, and the self-regulation of affect and action. Motiv Emot. 2006; 30(2): 105110.
106. Lang, PJ, Bradley, MM. Emotion and the motivational brain. Biol Psychol. 2010; 84(3): 437450.
107. Kavanagh, DJ, Andrade, J, May, J. Imaginary relish and exquisite torture: the elaborated intrusion theory of desire. Psychol Rev. 2005; 112(2): 446467.
108. Tiggemann, M, Kemps, E. The phenomenology of food cravings: the role of mental imagery. Appetite. 2005; 45(3): 305313.
109. Harvey, K, Kemps, E, Tiggemann, M. The nature of imagery processes underlying food cravings. Br J Health Psychol. 2005; 10(Pt 1): 4956.
110. May, J, Andrade, J, Kavanagh, DJ, Penfound, L. Imagery and strength of craving for eating, drinking, and playing sport. Cogn Emotion. 2008; 22(4): 633650.
111. Maude-Griffin, P, Tiffany, ST. Production of smoking urges through imagery: the impact of affect and smoking abstinence. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 1996; 4(2): 198208.
112. Tiffany, ST, Drobes, DJ. Imagery and smoking urges: the manipulation of affective content. Addict Behav. 1990; 15(6):531539.
113. Drobes, DJ, Tiffany, ST. Induction of smoking urge through imaginal and in vivo procedures: physiological and self-report manifestations. J Abnorm Psychol. 1997; 106(1): 1525.
114. Heishman, SJ, Lee, DC, Taylor, RC, Singleton, EG. Prolonged duration of craving, mood, and autonomic responses elicited by cues and imagery in smokers: effects of tobacco deprivation and sex. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010; 18(3): 245256.
115. Vanhaudenhuyse, A, Bruno, M-A, Brédart, S, Plenevaux, A, Laureys, S. The challenge of disentangling reportability and phenomenal consciousness in post-comatose states. Behav Brain Sci. 2007; 30(5–6): 529530.
116. Morewedge, CK, Huh, YE, Vosgerau, J. Thought for food: imagined consumption reduces actual consumption. Science. 2010; 330(6010): 15301533.
117. Kilts, CD, Schweitzer, JB, Quinn, CK, et al. Neural activity related to drug craving in cocaine addiction. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2001; 58(4): 334341.
118. Tiggemann, M, Kemps, E, Parnell, J. The selective impact of chocolate craving on visuospatial working memory. Appetite. 2010; 55(1): 4448.
119. Littel, M, van den Hout, MA, Engelhard, IM. Desensitizing addiction: using eye movements to reduce the intensity of substance-related mental imagery and craving. Front Psychiatry. 2016; 7:14.
120. Schumacher, S, Kemps, E, Tiggemann, M. Acceptance- and imagery-based strategies can reduce chocolate cravings: A test of the elaborated-intrusion theory of desire. Appetite. 2017; 113: 6370.
121. Skorka-Brown, J, Andrade, J, Whalley, B, May, J. Playing Tetris decreases drug and other cravings in real world settings. Addict Behav. 2015; 51: 165170.
122. Andrade, J, Pears, S, May, J, Kavanagh, DJ. Use of a clay modeling task to reduce chocolate craving. Appetite. 2012; 58(3): 955963.
123. Kemps, E, Tiggemann, M. Hand-held dynamic visual noise reduces naturally occurring food cravings and craving-related consumption. Appetite. 2013; 68: 152157.
124. May, J, Andrade, J, Panabokke, N, Kavanagh, D. Visuospatial tasks suppress craving for cigarettes. Behav Res Ther. 2010; 48(6):476485.
125. Hamilton, J, Fawson, S, May, J, Andrade, J, Kavanagh, DJ. Brief guided imagery and body scanning interventions reduce food cravings. Appetite. 2013; 71: 158162.
126. May, J, Andrade, J, Batey, H, Berry, L-M, Kavanagh, DJ. Less food for thought. Impact of attentional instructions on intrusive thoughts about snack foods. Appetite . 2010; 55(2): 279287.
127. Firmin, MW, Gillette, AL, Hobbs, TE, Wu, D. Effects of olfactory sense on chocolate craving. Appetite. 2016; 105: 700704.
128. Kemps, E, Tiggemann, M. Competing visual and olfactory imagery tasks suppress craving for coffee. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2009; 17(1): 4350.
129. Versland, A, Rosenberg, H. Effect of brief imagery interventions on craving in college student smokers. Addict Res Theory. 2007; 15(2): 177187.
130. Kemps, E, Tiggemann, M. Modality-specific imagery reduces cravings for food: an application of the elaborated intrusion theory of desire to food craving. J Exp Psychol Appl. 2007; 13(2): 95104.
131. Morina, N, Deeprose, C, Pusowski, C, Schmid, M, Holmes, EA. Prospective mental imagery in patients with major depressive disorder or anxiety disorders. J Anxiety Disord. 2011; 25(8):10321037.
132. Pile, V, Lau, JYF. Looking forward to the future: impoverished vividness for positive prospective events characterises low mood in adolescence. J Affect Disord. 2018; 238(April): 269276.
133. Hirsch, CR, Holmes, EA. Mental imagery in anxiety disorders. Psychiatry. 2007; 6(4): 161165.
134. Association, AP. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2013.
135. Ehlers, A, Hackmann, A, Michael, T. Intrusive re-experiencing in post-traumatic stress disorder: phenomenology, theory, and therapy. Memory. 2004; 12(4): 403415.
136. Grey, N, Holmes, EA. “Hotspots” in trauma memories in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: a replication. Memory. 2008; 16(7): 788796.
137. Coughtrey, AE, Shafran, R, Lee, M, Rachman, S. The treatment of mental contamination: a case series. Cognit Behav Pract. 2013; 20(2): 221231.
138. Hirsch, CR, Clark, DM, Mathews, A, Williams, R. Self-images play a causal role in social phobia. Behav Res Ther. 2003; 41(8): 909921.
139. Borkovec, TD, Alcaine, O, Behar, E. Avoidance theory of worry and generalized anxiety disorder. In: Heimberg RG, Turk CL, Mennin DS, eds. Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Advances in Research and Practice. New York: The Guildford Press; 2004.
140. Stöber, J. Worry, problem elaboration and suppression of imagery: the role of concreteness. Behav Res Ther. 1998; 36(7–8): 751756.
141. Behar, E, DiMarco, ID, Hekler, EB, Mohlman, J, Staples, AM. Current theoretical models of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): conceptual review and treatment implications. J Anxiety Disord. 2009; 23(8): 10111023.
142. Dadds, MR, Hawes, D, Schaefer, B, Vaka, K. Individual differences in imagery and reports of aversions. Memory. 2004; 12(4): 462466.
143. Dadds, MR, Bovbjerg, DH, Redd, WH, Cutmore, TRH. Imagery in human classical conditioning. Psychol Bull. 1997; 122(1): 89103.
144. Holmes, EA, Blackwell, SE, Burnett Heyes, S, Renner, F, Raes, F. Mental imagery in depression: phenomenology, potential mechanisms, and treatment implications. Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2016; 12(1): 249280.
145. Weßlau, C, Cloos, M, Höfling, V, Steil, R. Visual mental imagery and symptoms of depression - results from a large-scale web-based study. BMC Psychiatry. 2015; 15(1): 308.
146. MacLeod, AK, Conway, C. Well-being and positive future thinking for the self versus others. Cogn Emotion. 2007; 21(5): 11141124.
147. MacLeod, AK, Salaminiou, E. Reduced positive future-thinking in depression: cognitive and affective factors. Cogn Emotion. 2001; 15(1): 99107.
148. MacLeod, AK, Tata, P, Tyrer, P, Schmidt, U, Davidson, K, Thompson, S. Hopelessness and positive and negative future thinking in parasuicide. Br J Clin Psychol. 2005; 44(Pt 4): 495504.
149. Szőllősi, Á, Pajkossy, P, Racsmány, M. Depressive symptoms are associated with the phenomenal characteristics of imagined positive and negative future events. Appl Cogn Psychol. 2015; 29(5): 762767.
150. Murphy, F, Veers, P V, Blackwell, SE, Holmes, EA, Manly, T. Anticipated and imagined futures: prospective cognition and depressed mood following brain injury. 2017
151. Patel, T, Brewin, CR, Wheatley, J, Wells, A, Fisher, P, Myers, S. Intrusive images and memories in major depression. Behav Res Ther. 2007; 45(11): 25732580.
152. Renner, F, Ji, JL, Pictet, A, Holmes, EA, Blackwell, SE. Effects of engaging in repeated mental imagery of future positive events on behavioural activation in individuals with major depressive disorder. Cognit Ther Res. 2017; 41(3): 369380.
153. Hales, SA, Deeprose, C, Goodwin, GM, Holmes, EA. Cognitions in bipolar affective disorder and unipolar depression: imagining suicide. Bipolar Disord. 2011; 13(7–8): 651661.
154. Ivins, A, Di Simplicio, M, Close, H, Goodwin, GM, Holmes, E. Mental imagery in bipolar affective disorder versus unipolar depression: investigating cognitions at times of ‘positive’ mood. J Affect Disord. 2014; 166: 234242.
155. Gregory, JD, Brewin, CR, Mansell, W, Donaldson, C. Intrusive memories and images in bipolar disorder. Behav Res Ther. 2010; 48(7): 698703.
156. Meyer, TD, Finucane, L, Jordan, G. Is risk for mania associated with increased daydreaming as a form of mental imagery? J Affect Disord. 2011; 135(1–3): 380383.
157. O’Donnell, C, Di Simplicio, M, Brown, R, Holmes, EA, Burnett Heyes, S. The role of mental imagery in mood amplification: an investigation across subclinical features of bipolar disorders. Cortex. 2017; 105: 114.
158. Hasking, PA, Di Simplicio, M, McEvoy, PM, Rees, CS. Emotional cascade theory and non-suicidal self-injury: the importance of imagery and positive affect. Cogn Emot. August 2017: 112.
159. McEvoy, PM, Hayes, S, Hasking, PA, Rees, CS. Thoughts, images, and appraisals associated with acting and not acting on the urge to self-injure. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2017; 57(suppl C):163171.
160. Holmes, EA, Crane, C, Fennell, MJV, Williams, JMG. Imagery about suicide in depression—“Flash-forwards”? J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2007; 38(4): 423434.
161. Crane, C, Shah, D, Barnhofer, T, Holmes, EA. Suicidal imagery in a previously depressed community sample. Clin Psychol Psychother. 2012; 19(1): 5769.
162. Van Orden, KA, Witte, TK, Cukrowicz, KC, Braithwaite, SR, Selby, EA, Joiner, TE Jr. The interpersonal theory of suicide. Psychol Rev. 2010; 117(2): 575600.
163. Selby, EA, Anestis, MD, Joiner, TE, Selby, EA, Anestis, MD, Joiner, TE. Behavior modification emotion dysregulation in suicidality. 2007: 867–879.
164. Holaday, TC, Brausch, AM. Suicidal imagery, history of suicidality, and acquired capability in young adults. J Aggress Conflict Peace Res. 2015; 7(3): 127138.
165. Ng, RMK, Di Simplicio, M, McManus, F, Kennerley, H, Holmes, EA. ‘Flash-forwards’ and suicidal ideation: A prospective investigation of mental imagery, entrapment and defeat in a cohort from the Hong Kong Mental Morbidity Survey. Psychiatry Res. 2016; 246(suppl C): 453460.
166. Wetherall, K, Cleare, S, Eschle, S, et al. From ideation to action: differentiating between those who think about suicide and those who attempt suicide in a national study of young adults. J Affect Disord. 2018; 241(June): 475483.
167. Kavanagh, DJ, May, J, Andrade, J. Tests of the elaborated intrusion theory of craving and desire: features of alcohol craving during treatment for an alcohol disorder. Br J Clin Psychol. 2009; 48(Pt 3): 241254.
168. Fox, HC, Bergquist, KL, Hong, K-I, Sinha, R. Stress-induced and alcohol cue-induced craving in recently abstinent alcohol-dependent individuals. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2007; 31(3): 395403.
169. Tiffany, ST. A cognitive model of drug urges and drug-use behavior: role of automatic and nonautomatic processes. Psychol Rev. 1990; 97(2): 147168.
170. Connor, JP, Kavanagh, DJ, Andrade, J, et al. Alcohol consumption in young adults: the role of multisensory imagery. Addict Behav. 2014; 39(3): 721724.
171. Coates, JM, Gullo, MJ, Feeney, GFX, et al. The mini alcohol craving experience questionnaire: development and clinical application. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2017; 41(1): 156164.
172. Clark, IA, Holmes, EA, Woolrich, MW, Mackay, CE. Intrusive memories to traumatic footage: the neural basis of their encoding and involuntary recall. Psychol Med. 2016; 46(3):505518.
173. Holmes, EA, Arntz, A, Smucker, MR. Imagery rescripting in cognitive behaviour therapy: images, treatment techniques and outcomes. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2007; 38(4):297305.
174. Blackwell, SE, Browning, M, Mathews, A, et al. Positive imagery-based cognitive bias modification as a web-based treatment tool for depressed adults: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Psychol Sci. 2015; 3(1): 91111.
175. Wilson, AC, Schwannauer, M, McLaughlin, A, Ashworth, F, Chan, SWY. Vividness of positive mental imagery predicts positive emotional response to visually presented Project Soothe pictures. Br J Psychol. 2017; 109(2): 259
176. Naismith, I, Mwale, A, Feigenbaum, J. Inhibitors and facilitators of compassion-focused imagery in personality disorder. Clin Psychol Psychother. 2018; 25(2): 283291.
177. Solbrig, L, Whalley, B, Kavanagh, DJ, et al. Functional imagery training versus motivational interviewing for weight loss: a randomised controlled trial of brief individual interventions for overweight and obesity. Int J Obes. 2018.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Mental imagery in psychiatry: conceptual & clinical implications

  • Julie L. Ji (a1), David J. Kavanagh (a2), Emily A. Holmes (a3), Colin MacLeod (a1) and Martina Di Simplicio (a4)...


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.