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A possible role of naïve impetus in Michotte's "launching effect": Evidence from representational momentum

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In Michotte's (1946/1963) launching effect paradigm, a moving launcher contacts a stationary target, and then the launcher becomes stationary and the target begins to move. In the experiments reported here, observers were presented with modifications of a launching effect display, and displacement in memory for targets was measured. Faster launcher velocities resulted in larger displacements for moving targets, and the effect of launcher velocity was larger with faster target velocities. Launcher velocity did not influence displacement of targets that remained stationary after contact. Increases in the distance travelled by moving targets after contact from the launcher resulted in smaller displacements. Displacement appeared to result from an expectation that impetus would be imparted from the launcher rather than from contact between the launcher and the target. Displacement patterns were consistent with naïve impetus theory and with the hypothesis that observers believed impetus from the launcher was imparted to the target and dissipated with subsequent target motion.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2002


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