Memory in motion: Movement dynamics reveal memory strength

Megan H. Papesh, Stephen Goldinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Recognition memory is typically examined as a discrete end-state, describable by static variables, such as accuracy, response time, and confidence. In the present study, we combined real-time mouse-tracking with subsequent, overt confidence estimates to examine the dynamic nature of memory decisions. By examining participants' streaming x-, y- mouse coordinates during recognition decisions, we observed that movement trajectories revealed underlying response confidence. More confident decisions were associated with shorter decision times and more linear response trajectories. Less confident decisions were made slowly, with increased trajectory curvature. Statistical indices of curvature and decision times, including area-under-the-curve and time to maximum deviation, suggested that memory strength relates to response dynamics. Whether participants were correct or incorrect, old responses showed a stronger correspondence between mouse trajectories and confidence, relative to new responses. We suggest that people subjectively experience a correspondence between feelings of memory and feelings of confidence; that subjective experience reveals itself in real-time decision processes, as suggested by sequential sampling models of recognition decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)906-913
Number of pages8
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Confidence estimates
  • Mouse-tracking
  • Recognition memory
  • Temporal dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Memory in motion: Movement dynamics reveal memory strength'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this