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Elyssa Twedt, Sally Linkenauger, Tom Banton, Dennis Proffitt; The effect of biking effort on perceived distance and slant. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):1042. doi: 10.1167/8.6.1042.
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Previous research suggests that one's physiological state affects their perception of spatial layout. For example, the perceived steepness of hills is influenced by fatigue, poor physical condition, declining health, or being encumbered by a heavy backpack (Bhalla & Proffitt, 1999). This study extended previous work by investigating the effect of effort on perceived distance as well as perceived slant. Participants were avid cyclists who completed an intense bike ride covering either 66 or 100 miles. Participants made distance and slant estimates the day before the ride and immediately following completion of the ride. Participants verbally estimated the distance to 5 different targets which ranged between 4 and 14 meters and were placed in front of the observer. Different sets of distances were used for pre-ride and post-ride measures, although participants viewed 8m and 11m targets in both sets. Following either their pre-ride or post-ride distance estimates, participants verbally estimated the slant of a downhill slope. For both distance and slant estimates, there was a main effect of bicycling effort. That is, participants perceived targets to be farther away and slant to be steeper after expending energy and becoming fatigued from an intense bike ride. These results broaden the hypothesis that perception of spatial layout can be influenced by a person's physiological state to include the spatial layout of distances as well as slopes.
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