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Visual impressions of forces between objects: Entraining, enforced disintegration, and shattering

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When a moving object (A) contacts a stationary one (B) and Object B then moves, visual impressions of force occur along with a visual impression of causality. It is shown that findings about force impressions that occur with launching effect stimuli generalize to other forms of phenomenal causality, namely entraining, enforced disintegration, and shattering stimuli. In particular, evidence is reported for generality of the force asymmetry, in which the amount of perceived force exerted by Object A is greater than the amount of perceived resistance put up by Object B. Effects of manipulations of kinematic variables also resembled those found in previous experiments. Some unpredicted findings occurred. It is argued that these reflect a change in perceptual interpretation when both objects are in motion prior to contact, due to both objects being perceived as in autonomous motion. The results are consistent with a theoretical account in which force impressions occur by a process of matching kinematic information in visual stimuli to stored representations of actions on objects, which supply information about forces.
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Keywords: Causal perception; Entraining; Force impressions; Launching effect; Phenomenal causality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

Publication date: 01 May 2011

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