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Tactile motion lacks momentum


Macauda, Gianluca; Lenggenhager, Bigna; Meier, Rebekka; Essick, Gregory; Brugger, Peter (2017). Tactile motion lacks momentum. Psychological Research:epub ahead of print.

Abstract

The displacement of the final position of a moving object in the direction of the observed motion path, i.e. an overestimation, is known as representational momentum. It has been described both in the visual and the auditory domain, and is suggested to be modality-independent. Here, we tested whether a representational momentum can also be demonstrated in the somatosensory domain. While the cognitive literature on representational momentum suggests that it can, previous work on the psychophysics of tactile motion perception would rather predict an underestimation of the perceived endpoint of a tactile stimulus. Tactile motion stimuli were applied on the left and the right dorsal forearms of 32 healthy participants, who were asked to indicate the subjectively perceived endpoint of the stimulation. Velocity, length and direction of the trajectory were varied. Contrary to the prediction based on the representational momentum literature, participants in our experiment significantly displaced the endpoint against the direction of movement (underestimation). The results are thus compatible with previous psychophysical findings on the perception of tactile motion. Further studies combining paradigms from classical psychophysics and cognitive psychology will be needed to resolve the apparently paradoxical predictions by the two literatures.

Abstract

The displacement of the final position of a moving object in the direction of the observed motion path, i.e. an overestimation, is known as representational momentum. It has been described both in the visual and the auditory domain, and is suggested to be modality-independent. Here, we tested whether a representational momentum can also be demonstrated in the somatosensory domain. While the cognitive literature on representational momentum suggests that it can, previous work on the psychophysics of tactile motion perception would rather predict an underestimation of the perceived endpoint of a tactile stimulus. Tactile motion stimuli were applied on the left and the right dorsal forearms of 32 healthy participants, who were asked to indicate the subjectively perceived endpoint of the stimulation. Velocity, length and direction of the trajectory were varied. Contrary to the prediction based on the representational momentum literature, participants in our experiment significantly displaced the endpoint against the direction of movement (underestimation). The results are thus compatible with previous psychophysical findings on the perception of tactile motion. Further studies combining paradigms from classical psychophysics and cognitive psychology will be needed to resolve the apparently paradoxical predictions by the two literatures.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:8 June 2017
Deposited On:21 Sep 2017 15:32
Last Modified:21 Sep 2017 15:32
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-0727
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-017-0879-1
PubMed ID:28597136

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