, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 449-457

Memory for position and


Memory for the position of an object is biased. When asked to judge whether an object has changed its position with respect to a position shown a few milliseconds before, observers tend to detect the displacement more often when the displacement is not in the expected direction (downward for a falling object). The hypothesis proposed by Freyd (1983, 1987) states that the internal representation of an object is intrinsically dynamic. Therefore, the forces perceived as acting on the object affect the representation. Quantitative predictions of this model were tested in three experiments by measuring memory distortion for the position of an object on an inclined plane. Angle of inclination and retention interval were varied. The results for different inclinations support the physical model. The time course of the memory distortion suggests a new view about the relation between this phenomenon and very short-term memory.

This research was supported by Air Force Office of Scientific Research Grant AFOSR-91-0057 and NASA Grant NCA2-468 to Dennis Proffiti.