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The present study examined whether people’s mental imagery of falling objects includes the acceleration due to the earth’s gravitational force. To investigate this question, we used two different tasks, a height estimation and a fall-time estimation task. In the height estimation task, participants were presented with different free-fall times and had to indicate the corresponding heights from which the object fell to the ground. In the fall-time estimation task, participants had to produce the fall time associated with free falls from different heights. In contrast to the law of free fall, our results are more consistent with a linear than with an accelerated relationship between height and fall time. Thus, the present results suggest that mental imagery of an object’s free fall does not represent the gravitational acceleration due to gravity.

Open Access
In: Timing & Time Perception