NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ890834
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Representational Momentum for the Human Body: Awkwardness Matters, Experience Does Not
Wilson, Margaret; Lancaster, Jessy; Emmorey, Karen
Cognition, v116 n2 p242-250 Aug 2010
Perception of the human body appears to involve predictive simulations that project forward to track unfolding body-motion events. Here we use representational momentum (RM) to investigate whether implicit knowledge of a learned arbitrary system of body movement such as sign language influences this prediction process, and how this compares to implicit knowledge of biomechanics. Experiment 1 showed greater RM for sign language stimuli in the correct direction of the sign than in the reverse direction, but unexpectedly this held true for non-signers as well as signers. Experiment 2 supported two biomechanical explanations for this result (an effect of downward movement, and an effect of the direction that the movement had actually been performed by the model), and Experiments 3 and 4 found no residual enhancement of RM in signers when these factors were controlled. In fact, surprisingly, the opposite was found: signers showed reduced RM for signs. Experiment 5 verified the effect of biomechanical knowledge by testing arm movements that are easy to perform in one direction but awkward in the reverse direction, and found greater RM for the easy direction. We conclude that while perceptual prediction is shaped by implicit knowledge of biomechanics (the "awkwardness effect"), it is surprisingly insensitive to expectations derived from learned movement patterns. Results are discussed in terms of recent findings on the mirror system. (Contains 9 figures.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A