Seeing the unseen? Illusory causal filling in FIFA referees, players, and novices
We present novel evidence that implicit causal inferences distort memory for events only seconds after viewing. Adults watched videos of someone launching (or throwing) an object. However, the videos omitted the moment of contact (or release). Subjects falsely reported seeing the moment of contact when it was implied by subsequent footage but did not do so when the contact was not implied. Causal implications were disrupted either by replacing the resulting flight of the ball with irrelevant video or by scrambling event segments. Subjects in the different causal implication conditions did not differ on false alarms for other moments of the event, nor did they differ in general recognition accuracy. These results suggest that as people perceive events, they generate rapid conceptual interpretations that can have a powerful effect on how events are remembered.