• Paul Thompson

Student thesis: Phd


Moving objects are often used by communicators as a technique to draw attention to a message, but it can be unclear when and how movement leads to increased memory for individual objects or whole scenes. This thesis documents a cognitive neuroscience approach to investigating some of the circumstances under which observed movement informs recognition and recall memory of scene elements, with a primary focus on objects. Experiment A, the first of 5 experiments labelled from A to E, required the design and development of a new stimulus set in order to compare recognition memory performance for observed objects manipulated egocentrically at study presentation with recognition memory performance for objects unmoved at study presentation. Although the experiment did not find the expected memory advantage for manipulated objects, the result can be explained by study-test congruence effect interference. Engaging a revised and enhanced protocol which introduced allocentric manipulation and removed the study-test congruence confound, Experiment B found a clear recognition memory advantage for moved objects. Experiment B therefore suggest that movement can be an effective cue to aid object memory recall. Leveraging the same stimulus items, Experiment C revealed that access to object movement information was better for moved objects than it was for unmoved objects, but did not discriminate object recognition. Since awareness of actual movement did not seem to be a positive factor in object recognition memory, Experiment D employed a second newly-designed and developed stimulus set to investigate whether or not implied, rather than actual, object movement in auditory and visual scenes could also trigger the object movement memory advantage. Results showed no advantage for object memory where implied motion was involved, suggesting initially that the previous result must be more explicable by the sensory processing of actual movement than by the top-down interpretation of implicit movement. Experiment D also suggested that scene binding tended to specifically prejudice recall of the object element in all scenarios. Experiment E then employed eye-tracking to investigate scene binding under conditions of implied movement and no implied movement in static cartoon scenes. The experiment again enhanced a previously-employed protocol, primarily through standardising scene complexity, and found the originally-expected movement advantage for object recall for elements studied in scenes featuring implied motion, an advantage that also extended to other individual scene elements. The motion advantage for objects was tentatively explained by the greater number of object fixations during the study of implied motion scenes. Although results are in part contradictory, it would appear that object movement (both actual and implied) can be effective in aiding object recognition and recall. The finding has clear implications for communicators.
Date of Award1 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDaniela Montaldi (Supervisor) & Daniella Ryding (Supervisor)


  • Memory
  • Motion
  • Objects
  • Implied Motion
  • Advertising

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