Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Manipulating Perception versus Action in Recalibration Tasks

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Manipulating Perception versus Action in Recalibration Tasks

Article excerpt

Abstract We conducted six experiments to examine how manipulating perception versus action affects perception-action recalibration in real and imagined blindfolded walking tasks. Participants first performed a distance estimation task (pretest) and then walked through an immersive virtual environment on a treadmill for 10 min. Participants then repeated the distance estimation task (posttest), the results of which were compared with their pretest performance. In Experiments la, 2a, and 3a, participants walked at a normal speed during recalibration, but the rate of visual motion was either twice as fast or half as fast as the participants' walking speed. In Experiments lb, 2b, and 3b, the rate of visual motion was kept constant, but participants walked at either a faster or a slower speed. During pre- and posttest, we used either a blindfolded walking distance estimation task or an imagined walking distance estimation task. Additionally, participants performed the pretest and posttest distance estimation tasks in either the real environment or the virtual environment. With blindfolded walking as the distance estimation task for pre-and posttest, we found a recalibration effect when either the rate of visual motion or the walking speed was manipulated during the recalibration phase. With imagined walking as the distance estimation task, we found a recalibration effect when the rate of visual motion was manipulated, but not when the walking speed was manipulated in both the real environment and the virtual environment. Discussion focuses on how spatial-updating processes operate on perception and action and on representation and action.

Keywords Perception and action · Navigation and spatial memory · Spatial cognition

As we locomote through the world, we constantly experience the relationship between our rate of physical movement and the rate of visual motion. For example, if we walk quickly down a sidewalk, we experience a faster rate of visual motion than if we walk slowly. Over time, this vast experience with the relationship between perception and action allows the system to build up expectations about how a given amount of movement will lead to a given amount of distance traveled. The regularity between the rate of movement and the distance traveled is altered only through mechanical devices such as moving sidewalks in airports. In such cases, a given rate of walking produces a greater amount of distance traveled than we normally experience. With enough experience on a moving sidewalk, people should recalibrate, or adapt to a new relationship between perception and action. In fact, several studies have shown that recalibration occurs even after only 10 min of experience with an altered relationship between perception and action (e.g., Möhler et al., 2004; Möhler et al., 2007; Proffitt, Stefanucci, Banton, & Epstein, 2003; Rieser, Pick, Ashmead, & Garing, 1995; Withagen, & Michaels, 2002). Beyond these demonstrations of recalibration, however, relatively little is known about the processes that underlie the recalibration of perception and action. Here, we further examine how spatial-updating processes operate on perception and action and on representation and action.

Coupling of perception, action, and representation

According to Rieser and Pick (2007), perception, action, and representation are coupled together in an organized system that allows us to act adaptively whether perceiving (e.g., looking or listening) or representing (e.g., visualizing or imagining) the environment around us. Under normal circumstances, we use perception to guide action. Thus, if we want to pick up an object on the other side of a room, we simply look at the object while walking over to the location. This system of online control is highly accurate and efficient and likely governs much of our daily interactions with obj ects. Under other circumstances, however, we can use representation to guide action. For example, even without vision (due to blindness or darkness), we can walk over to pick up an object on the other side of a room (Rieser, Guth, & Hill, 1986). …

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