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Larger forward memory displacement in the direction of gravity

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An observer's memory for the final position of a moving stimulus is shifted forward in the direction of its motion. Observers in an upright posture typically show a larger forward memory displacement for a physically downward motion than for a physically upward motion of a stimulus (representational gravity; Hubbard & Bharucha, 1988). We examined whether representational gravity occurred along the environmentally vertical axis or the egocentrically vertical axis. In Experiment 1 observers in either upright or prone postures viewed egocentrically upward and downward motions of a stimulus. Egocentrically downward effects were observed only in the upright posture. In Experiment 2 observers in either upright or prone postures viewed approaching and receding motions of a stimulus along the line of sight. Only in the prone posture did the receding motion produce a larger forward memory displacement than the approaching motion. These results indicate that representational gravity depends not on the egocentric axis but on the environmental axis.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2002


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