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Eliza Polli, Stephanie Lechich, Allison Coleman, Morgan Williams, Frank Durgin; Athletes have superior kinesthetic feedback during the control of visually-directed action. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):479. doi: 10.1167/13.9.479.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Perceptual feedback is fundamental to the control of skilled action, and perceptual feedback includes more than vision. Here we provide evidence that athletes have more precise proprioceptive feedback than non-athletes when throwing to a visual target. This was investigated by having 71 participants (34 were varsity athletes) make 100 blindfolded beanbag tosses to a visual target 4 m distant. Prior to each throw participants viewed the target and then pulled down the blindfold. After each throw, participants made judgments of their proprioceptively-perceived performance on that throw (two forced choice judgments: left vs. right and short vs. long) prior to lifting the blindfold to see the actual outcome. This late visual feedback was to reduce drift in the calibration of throwing. A payment reward scheme emphasized throwing accuracy, and gave additional points for report accuracy – but only when the throw was near the target to avoid intentional misthrowing. In a control experiment (N=18), participants simply threw the beanbag with full vision throughout. Throwing performance was reliably more precise (lower SD) with full visual feedback for both athletes and non-athletes. Throwing performance was also better for athletes than for non-athletes in both sighted and blindfolded conditions, though sighted non-athletes out-performed blindfolded athletes. Most importantly, proprioceptive/kinesthetic JNDs computed for both aim and distance were highly correlated with blindfolded performance in both athletes and in non-athletes. Athletes showed greater perceptual precision than non-athletes overall. This differential proprioceptive/kinesthetic sensitivity is sufficient to account for quantitative differences in skilled performance both when blindfolded and when full visual feedback was present. Rather than speaking of visuo-motor tuning, we may think of skilled throwing performance as involving coordination of kinesthetic feedback (observed discrepancies between intended/predicted and produced action) and visual feedback about the outcome of that action.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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