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Timothy L. Hubbard, Anuradha Mohan Kumar, Charlotte L. Carp; Effects of spatial cue timing and relevance on representational momentum. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):599. doi: 10.1167/8.6.599.
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In representational momentum (RM), memory for the final location of a moving target is displaced in the direction of motion (for review, Hubbard, 2005). Previous experiments found inconsistent effects of manipulating attention on RM; Hayes and Freyd (2002) presented an additional task during target presentation and found increases in RM with decreases in attention to the target, whereas Kerzel (2003) presented a distractor after target presentation and found decreases in RM with decreases in attention to the target. The current experiments address these differences by presenting a spatial cue and varying the (a) timing of cue presentation and (b) relevance of the cue for target localization. Participants viewed implied horizontal motion of a target, and a spatial cue was visible in one-half of the trials. In Experiment 1, the cue was visible during target presentation, and in Experiment 2, the cue was visible during the retention interval between when the target vanished and a probe appeared. The cue was relevant (i.e., indicated where the target would vanish [Exp. 1] or had vanished [Exp. 2]) or irrelevant (i.e., was above or below the path of target motion). RM occurred in all conditions, but was less when a cue was visible than when a cue was not visible. In Experiment 1, decreases in RM were larger with relevant cues than with irrelevant cues; in Experiment 2, decreases in RM were larger with irrelevant cues than with relevant cues. The decrease in RM when cues were visible in both Experiments 1 and 2 suggests differences between Hayes and Freyd (2002) and Kerzel (2003) do not reflect differences in the timing of their attention manipulations. Effects of cue relevance are consistent with existence of a non-modular (cognitively penetrable) component of RM, but the presence of RM when relevant cues were visible during target presentation or during the retention interval is consistent with existence of a modular (cognitively impenetrable) component of RM.
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