Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ)

What is the VVIQ?

The VVIQ is a self-report measure of the clarity and liveliness of visual imagery and, in so doing, aims to evoke images that vary in vividness, ambiance, and feeling as well. The instructions state the following:
“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. The first box is for an image obtained with your eyes open and the second box is for an image obtained with your eyes closed. Before you turn to the items on the next page, 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.
Complete all items for images obtained with the eyes open and then return to the beginning of the questionnaire and rate the image obtained for each item with your eyes closed. Try and give your ‘eyes closed’ rating independently of the ‘eyes open’ rating. The two ratings for a given item may not in all cases be the same.”

The Rating Scale in the VVIQ

The five-point rating scale of the VVIQ is presented below. Some researchers prefer to reverse the numerical scale to make 5 = perfectly clear and as vivid as normal vision, and 1 = no image at all, you only “know” that you are thinking of an object.

The 16 VVIQ Items

The 16 items are arranged in blocks of four, in which each has a theme and at least one item in each cluster describes a visual image that includes movement. Each theme provides a narrative to guide a progression of mental imagery. It is noted that at least one item in each cluster describes an activity or movement, indexing liveliness. The aim of the VVIQ is to assess visual imagery vividness under conditions which allow a progressive development of scenes, situations, or events as naturally as possible. The items are intended to evoke sufficient interest, meaning, and affect conducive to image generation. Participants rate the vividness of their images separately with eyes open and eyes closed.

For a small minority of people, the capacity for visual imagery is unavailable. In the absence of mental imagery, consciousness consists of “unheard” words, “unheard” music, and “invisible” imagery. This minority needs to employ more generic, verbal methods to recall events, and to plan goals and future activity—compensatory strengths that remain under-investigated.
An online version of the VVIQ is here.

Research using the VVIQ

To date, around 2000 studies have used the VVIQ or Vividness of Movement Imagery Questionnaire (VMIQ) as a measure of imagery vividness.

PLEASE NOTE: Researchers can freely use the VVIQ in their research projects without asking for permission.

Published by David F Marks

Author, editor, psychologist.

27 thoughts on “Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ)

  1. This is strange for me. I always thought that “seeing pictures in your mind” was a metaphor. Now I feel incredibly sad at what I’m missing out on. I realized that I have some degree of this condition when somehow, “close your eyes and imagine a rabbit” came up in conversation in a group. I couldn’t do it. All I see is black. Interestingly it is a church group. I really like the church, but feel unconnected from the concept of religion the way my fellow congregants do. Have you considered how faith is affected by this condition?


  2. Dr. Marks,

    Has a study been done on VVIQ scores in the general population? I am writing a student literature review on the topic of variation in visual imagery vividness among individuals, and I haven’t been able to find any indication of an “average” VVIQ score, let along percentages for the general population.

    Thank you,
    Shannon Murphy


  3. Dear Dr. Marks

    I hope you are well. I am a student of M.Phil Clinical Psychology at Amity University in India. I would like to ask for your permission to use VVIQ for my research. I will be studying the relationship between visual mental imagery and suicidal ideation. I would appreciate it. Thank you.

    Warm regards
    Ayushi Tyagi


    1. Thank you for your comment. Please avoid the word ‘quiz’ in relation to the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire. A quiz is something completely different involving correct and incorrect answers in a contest for points or prizes. None of the latter apply to to the VVIQ.


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