Midpoints and Endpoints in Event Perception

AbstractEvents unfold over time, i.e., they have a beginning and endpoint. Previous studies have illustrated the importance of endpoints for event perception and memory (Lakusta & Landau, 2005, 2012; Papafragou, 2010; Strickland & Keil, 2011; Zacks & Swallow, 2007). However, this work has not compared endpoints to other potentially salient points in the internal temporal profile of events (e.g., midpoints) and has only discussed events with a self-evident endpoint. In the present study, we explored sensitivity to event endpoints and midpoints in events of different types. Our results show that people are more disturbed by interruptions at the end compared to interruptions in the middle of an event - but only when perceiving a bounded event (i.e., an event with an inherent endpoint). This finding reveals complex tracking of the abstract internal temporal structure of events during event perception.


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