Can expertise modulate representational momentum?


  • Blattler Colin
  • Ferrari Vincent
  • Didierjean André
  • van Elslande Pierre
  • Marmèche Evelyne


  • Representational momentum
  • Expertise
  • Natural scenes

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Representational momentum (RM) refers to the tendency of participants to "remember" the stopping point of an event as being farther along in the direction of movement than it was in reality (Freyd & Finke, 1984). Our aim was twofold: (1) test for the impact of domain-specific expertise (here, automobile driving) on RM, using films of road scenes, and (2) find out whether the improved anticipation ability that comes with greater expertise is transferred to scenes from domains that are far-removed from the person's domain of expertise. Two experiments were conducted in which experienced and inexperienced automobile drivers performed a movement-anticipation task on realistic road scenes (Experiment 1), with stimuli that were very different from those found in their domain of expertise (Experiment 2). These studies pointed out some properties of representational momentum, and showed that RM is dependent upon knowledge acquired by participants in specific domains. Our research also showed that expertise in automobile driving can modulate RM in road-scene perception (i.e, the cognitive characteristics of the observer can modulate the magnitude of the RM effect) but that expertise in automobile driving is not transferred to dissimilar domains.

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