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Jonathan R. Zadra, Sally A. Linkegauger, Dennis R. Proffitt; Effort affects perceived distance to objects within reach. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):722. doi: 10.1167/6.6.722.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous research demonstrates that distance perception is not solely a function of optical variables, but rather is also influenced by the perceiver's physiological state, intent to act on a distance, and the effort associated with such an action. Proffitt and colleagues have shown that perceived distance increases when the perceiver is wearing a heavy backpack (Proffitt, Stefanucci, Banton, & Epstein, 2003). This and other similar studies used distances beyond 4 meters. In the present studies, we examine the influence of effort on distance perception for objects within reach. Participants were seated at a table and a beanbag was placed before them at 40, 50, or 60 cm (four trials each). Participants were asked to imagine picking the bag up, then gave a distance estimate using a visual matching task, and finally reached for and picked up the bag. Effort was manipulated across two conditions, using either a light (<1 lb) or heavy (5 lb) beanbag. Participants who intend to pick up the heavy bag judge all three distances as greater than participants who intend to pick up the light bag. These results suggest that, similar to results from longer distances, our perception of distances within our reach is also influenced by effort.
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