Published On: 26/10/2010|Categories: 2008–2012, Vol.31 (2010), Vol.31 (3)|

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Representational Momentum (RepMo) refers to the phenomenon that the vanishing position of a moving target is perceived as displaced ahead in the direction of movement. Originally taken to reflect a strict internalization of physical momentum, the finding that the target implied mass did not have an effect led to its subsequent reinterpretation as a second-order isomorphism between mental representations and principles of the physical world. However, very few studies have addressed the effects of mass on RepMo, and consistent replications of the null effect are lacking. The extent of motor engagement of the observers in RepMo tasks has, on the other hand, been suggested to determine the occurrence of the phenomenon; however, no systematic investigations were made of the degree to which it might modulate the effect of target mass. In the present work, we use Information Integration Theory to study the joint effects of different motor responses, target velocity and target mass on RepMo, and also of velocity and target mass on rating responses. Outcomes point not only to an effect of mass on RepMo, as to a differential effect of response modality on kinematic (e.g., velocity) and dynamic (e.g., mass) variables. Comparisons of patterns of mislocalisation with phenomenological ratings suggest that simplification of physical principles, rather than strict internalization or isomorphism per se, might underlie RepMo.

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