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Jessica K. Witt, Dennis R. Proffitt; Effects of effort and intention on perception: The locus of the effect. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):721. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/6.6.721.
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People perceive their environment in terms of the energetic costs associated with the actions that they intend to perform. For example, hills look steeper when people wear a heavy backpack (Bhalla & Proffitt, 1999) and targets look farther away when people throw heavy balls to them (Witt et al., 2003). Moreover, these effects are conditionalized by intention. Only effort associated with an intended action influences perception (Witt et al., 2004). These experiments demonstrate that non-visual information — such as the energy expenditure required to perform an intended action — influences perception. Several implications result from this research including the claim that perception is not a modular, informationally-encapsulated process. This research is often met with resistance and an alternative explanation that the effects are due to post-perceptual processes as opposed to an effect on perception itself. In a critical experiment, we examined the locus of these effects and demonstrated that effort and intention affect perception directly rather than influencing post-perceptual processes. Perception relates spatial layout, as specified by optical and ocular-motor information, to the energetic costs of intended actions.
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