The Influence of Motion Language and Gaze Orientation on Spatial Memory


When participants observe a man who looks to have fallen or jumped off of a cliff, spatial memories of the man’s location are further down a gravitational trajectory compared to his actual location (Freyd, 1985). Previous research has repeatedly observed that inferring gravity – a top-down process – modulates spatial memory. The present study found that differences in the eye gaze orientation of the man by a cliff such as facing up or facing down, and linguistic information such as ‘Jumped’ or ‘Fell’, independently influence the spatial memory of the man’s location. A brief discussion is presented regarding the influences of top-down and bottom-up processes in spatial memory.

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