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Visual impressions of active and inanimate resistance to impact from a moving object

White, Peter A. 2020. Visual impressions of active and inanimate resistance to impact from a moving object. Visual Cognition 28 (4) , pp. 263-278. 10.1080/13506285.2020.1787571

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Images of moving objects presented on computer screens may be perceived as animate or inanimate. A simple hypothesis, consistent with much research evidence, is that objects are perceived as inanimate if there is a visible external contact from another object immediately prior to the onset of motion, and as animate if that is not the case. Evidence is reported that is not consistent with that hypothesis. Objects (targets) moving on contact from another object (launcher) were perceived as actively resisting the impact of the launcher on them if the targets slowed rapidly. Rapid slowing is consistent with the laws of mechanics for objects moving in an environment that offers friction and air resistance. Despite that, ratings of inanimate motion were lower than ratings of active resistance for objects that slowed rapidly. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that there is a perceptual impression of active (animate) resistance that is evoked by the kinematic pattern of rapid slowing from an initial speed after contact from another object. KEYWORDS: Causal perception, launching effect, perceived animacy

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1350-6285
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 October 2020
Date of Acceptance: 19 June 2020
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 11:03

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