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Comparing mislocalizations with moving stimuli: The Fröhlich effect, the flash-lag, and representational momentum

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When observers are asked to localize the onset or the offset position of a moving target, they typically make localization errors in the direction of movement. Similarly, when observers judge a moving target that is presented in alignment with a flash, the target appears to lead the flash. These errors are known as the Fröhlich effect, representational momentum, and flash-lag effect, respectively. This study compared the size of the three mislocalization errors. In Experiment 1, a flash appeared either simultaneously with the onset, the mid-position, or the offset of the moving target. Observers then judged the position where the moving target was located when the flash appeared. Experiments 2 and 3 are exclusively concerned with localizing the onset and the offset of the moving target. When observers localized the position with respect to the point in time when the flash was presented, a clear mislocalization in the direction of movement was observed at the initial position and the mid-position. In contrast, a mislocalization opposite to movement direction occurred at the final position. When observers were asked to ignore the flash (or when no flash was presented at all), a reduced error (or no error) was observed at the initial position and only a minor error in the direction of the movement occurred at the final position. An integrative model is proposed, which suggests a common underlying mechanism, but emphasizes the specific processing components of the Fröhlich effect, flash-lag effect, and representational momentum.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-02-01

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