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Nora Preuss, Laurence R. Harris, Fred W. Mast; Allocentric visual cues influence mental transformation of bodies. Journal of Vision 2013;13(12):14. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.12.14.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Identifying a human body stimulus involves mentally rotating an embodied spatial representation of one's body (motoric embodiment) and projecting it onto the stimulus (spatial embodiment). Interactions between these two processes (spatial and motoric embodiment) may thus reveal cues about the underlying reference frames. The allocentric visual reference frame, and hence the perceived orientation of the body relative to gravity, was modulated using the York Tumbling Room, a fully furnished cubic room with strong directional cues that can be rotated around a participant's roll axis. Sixteen participants were seated upright (relative to gravity) in the Tumbling Room and made judgments about body and hand stimuli that were presented in the frontal plane at orientations of 0°, 90°, 180° (upside down), or 270° relative to them. Body stimuli have an intrinsic visual polarity relative to the environment whereas hands do not. Simultaneously the room was oriented 0°, 90°, 180° (upside down), or 270° relative to gravity resulting in sixteen combinations of orientations. Body stimuli were more accurately identified when room and body stimuli were aligned. However, such congruency did not facilitate identifying hand stimuli. We conclude that static allocentric visual cues can affect embodiment and hence performance in an egocentric mental transformation task. Reaction times to identify either hands or bodies showed no dependence on room orientation.
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