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Andrea Piotrowski, Lorna Jakobson; Age-related changes in the representational momentum effect. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):427. doi: 10.1167/8.6.427.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Humans have a tendency to perceive motion even in static images that simply “imply” movement. This tendency is so strong that our memory for actions depicted in static images is distorted in the direction of implied motion. Freyd (1983) referred to this phenomenon as representational momentum (RM). The current study extends the work of Freyd and Finke (1984) to a healthy elderly population. In their study, three rectangles (differing in orientation) were presented sequentially in a pattern that implied clockwise rotation. Participants judged whether or not a fourth rectangle (the target) was shown in the same orientation as the third rectangle in the inducing display. The fourth rectangle was presented either in the same orientation as the third or displaced forward or backward along the path of implied rotation. Young adults showed a RM effect, responding that the target's position was further along the path of implied motion than it really was. In the present study, we replicated this effect in young adults, and went on to show that healthy elderly do not show a RM effect (p r(28) = −.393, p = .039. One-sample t-tests showed that means of young adults (M = 2.06, SD = 1.35) were significantly greater than zero, while those of young-old (ages 66–72; M = 1.36, SD = 2.31) and old-old (ages 75–86; M = –0.25, SD = 2.44) participants were not. We speculate that the reduced RM effect seen in healthy aging reflects age-related changes in areas of the brain that are involved in processing real and implied motion.
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