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30-07-2019 | Original Article

Representational momentum in adolescent dancers

Psychological Research
Yin-Hua Chen, Roberta Belleri, Paola Cesari
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00426-019-01234-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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An observer’s memory for the final position of a previously viewed moving target is often displaced slightly forward in the direction of the target motion. This forward displacement, named representational momentum (RM), reflects the implied momentum of the target and is influenced by the level of familiarity that the observer has with the target observed. In this study, we investigated whether RM would be present in adolescents when they viewed actions from their domain of expertise, which would allow them to anticipate the sequence of familiar movements. We thus recruited adolescent ballet dancers and asked them to view a typical ballet jump (grand jeté) in photos as in a classical RM paradigm. The ascending, descending, and flying (between ascending and descending) phases of the jump were used to test the effects of the momentum of the jump combined with the effects of gravity, and adolescent dancers’ performance was compared with age-matched non-dancers. Results revealed that all adolescents exhibited RM in the ascending and descending phases of the jump with a greater RM effect in the descending than in the ascending phases. Crucially, only dancers exhibited RM in the flying phase of the jump. Our findings provided evidence of the presence of RM phenomenon in adolescents along with the tendency of an amplified effect due to the level of expertise.

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