Core Cognition in Adult Vision: A Surprising DiscrepancyBetween the Principles of Object Continuity and Solidity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


From an early age, humans intuitively expect physical objects to obey core principles, includingcontinuity (objects follow spatiotemporally continuous paths) and solidity (two solid objects cannotoccupy the same space at the same time). These 2 principles are sometimes viewed as deriving from asingle overarching “persistence” principle. Indeed, violations of solidity where one solid object seem-ingly passes through another could theoretically be interpreted as a violation of continuity, with an object“teleporting” to switch places rather than passing through a solid obstacle. However, it is an empiricalissue whether the two principles are processed distinctly or identically to one another. Here, adultparticipants tracked objects during dynamic events in a novel location detection task, which sometimesinvolved violations of the principles of continuity or solidity. Although participants explicitly noticedboth types of violations and reported being equally surprised at both, they made more errors andanswered more slowly after continuity violations than after solidity violations. Our results demonstratethat the two principles show different signature patterns and are thus represented distinctly in the mind.


  • Andreas Falck
  • Ghislaine Labouret
  • Véronique Izard
  • Annie E. Wertz
  • Frank C. Keil
  • Brent Strickland
External organisations
  • PSL University
  • Paris Descartes University
  • Max Planck Institute for Human Development
  • Yale University
  • Mohammed VI Polytechnic University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch