Recollection and Unitization in Associating Actors With Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motions

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Four experiments provide evidence for a distinction between 2 different kinds of motion representations. Extrinsic motions involve the path of an object with respect to an external frame of reference. Intrinsic motions involve the relative motions of the parts of an object. This research suggests that intrinsic motions are represented conjointly with information about the identities of the actors who perform them, whereas extrinsic motions are represented separately from identity information. Experiment 1 demonstrated that participants remembered which actor had performed a particular intrinsic motion better than they remembered which actor had performed a particular extrinsic motion. Experiment 2 replicated this effect with incidental encoding of actor information, suggesting that encoding intrinsic motions leads one to automatically encode identity information. The results of Experiments 3 and 4 were fit by Yonelinas’s (1999) source-memory model to quantify the contributions of familiarity and recollection to memory for the actors who carried out the intrinsic and extrinsic motions. Successful performance with extrinsic motion items in Experiment 3 required participants to remember in which scene contexts an actor had appeared, whereas successful performance in Experiment 4 required participants to remember the exact path taken by an actor in each scene. In both experiments, discrimination of old and new combinations of actors and extrinsic motions relied strongly on recollection, suggesting independent but associated representations of actors and extrinsic motions. In contrast, participants discriminated old and new combinations of actors and intrinsic motions primarily on the basis of familiarity, suggesting unitized representations of actors and intrinsic motions.

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