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Sarah H. Creem; Spatial updating after imagined self and object movement: translation is similar to rotation. Journal of Vision 2001;1(3):141. doi: 10.1167/1.3.141.
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Updating the positions of objects in space is easier after imagined viewer rotation compared to object rotation (Wraga, Creem, & Proffitt, 2000). The advantage remains even when the required self-rotation is physically impossible to perform (Creem, Wraga, & Proffitt, 2000). This ease of imagined self-rotation contrasts with the findings of research that has compared imagined and real rotation and translation. These studies suggest that updating is difficult after imagined self-rotation compared to imagined self-translation (Presson & Montello, 1994; Rieser, 1989). The present studies examined whether the advantage for imagined self- versus object-rotation seen in previous studies was primarily a result of the rotational component, or whether this difference would be apparent in translation tasks as well. Participants memorized positions of colored blocks in a line that extended in front and in back (or left and right) of their standing position. Without vision, they identified the colored block that was next to them (front/back or left/right) after a given imagined translation of the self or of the objects. The results indicated superior performance for viewer- versus object-translation in both the sagittal (Experiment 1) and frontal (Experiment 2) planes. Updating reaction time (RT) after imagined viewer translation did not increase beyond a baseline of no imagined movement. In contrast, updating RT after imagined object translation increased significantly above the baseline. Although studies indicate that mechanisms of updating after translation and rotation differ, the present work shows a similar advantage for imagined self-versus object-movement in translation as in rotation, suggesting a common advantage for the conditions that promote a body's potential for action.
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