Studies in Perception and Action V: Tenth International Conference on Perception and Action: Aug. 8-13, 1999, Edinburgh, Scotland

By Madeleine A. Grealy; James A. Thomson et al. | Go to book overview

Studies in Perception and Action V M. A. Grealy & J. A. Thomson (Eds.) © 1999 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.


Perceiving The Affordance In Stepping Across An Obstacle

S. Cornus1, G. Montagne2 & M. Laurent2

1Laboratoire d'Analyse de la Performance Motrice Humaine, Université de Poitiers, France

2 Mouvement et Perception, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France

From an ecological perspective, perception is closely connected to movement: that is to say that the optic flow generated by the movement of the subject and/or the environment contains specific information that the subject needs in order to be able to control an action ( Gibson, 1979/ 1986). Following this line of thinking, Warren ( 1988) suggested that when perceiving specific information, it is not only the perception of the information that affords a certain action (i.e., the affordance), but also the perception of the information that the subject has to use in order to be able to adequately control that action (i.e., the law of control). Many studies have shown that the control of action is dependent on perception- movement coupling (e.g. Warren, Young, & Lee, 1986). But in the context of affordances, few studies have examined the relevance of the relationship between perception and movement. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that subjects are able to perceive affordances by comparing judged action boundaries to actual action boundaries (e.g., Warren, 1984). One might wonder whether the movement would be necessary to perceive affordances. Moreover in a ball catching task, Oudejans, Michaels, Bakker et Dolné ( 1996) demonstrated that movement improves catchableness judgments: that is to say that the accuracy of affordance perception increased when the subjects were able to run towards the future point of contact. In order to address the role of movement in the accuracy of affordance perception, our study compared

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