Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 81, Issue 7, pp 2155–2170 | Cite as

Momentum-like effects and the dynamics of perception, cognition, and action

  • Timothy L. HubbardEmail author
Time for Action: Reaching for a Better Understanding of the Dynamics of Cognition


In a momentum-like effect, the likely future state of a current action or process is extrapolated. Momentum-like effects have been suggested to reflect dynamic processes, but such effects have not often been discussed in the broader literature on dynamic approaches to perception, cognition, and action. Several momentum-like effects are briefly described, and attempts to formulate dynamic theories of such effects are considered. Issues regarding dynamic representation that are relevant for theories of momentum-like effects (whether contingencies are invariant, stochastic, or arbitrary; bridging gaps between perception and action and between action and reinforcement; adaptiveness of such effects; influences of an observer’s knowledge, beliefs, and expectations; relationship of momentum-like effects to naïve physics and perception of causality) are discussed. Issues highlighted by a consideration of momentum-like effects relevant for dynamic approaches to other phenomena (multiple meanings and senses of “dynamic,” different meanings and connotations of “continuation” and “extrapolation,” perceptual inference of subjective or objective consequences, importance of time scale and temporal information, importance of the computational theory level, momentum-like effects as an example of predictive processing) are also discussed. Momentum-like effects provide examples of relatively simple dynamic processes that reveal and highlight issues relevant for study of dynamic approaches in a wide range of perceptual, cognitive, and action phenomena.


Perception and action Momentum-Like effect Cognitive dynamics Predictive processing Anticipatory representation 



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© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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