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Sally A. Linkenauger, Jessica Witt, Jeanine Stephanucci, Dennis Proffitt; Ease to grasp an object affects perceived distance. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):724. doi: 10.1167/6.6.724.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Recent research has shown that the ability to act affects perception of spatial layout. For example, as the effort to traverse a distance or climb a hill increases, people's perception of distance and slant increase as well (Proffitt et al., 2003; Bhalla & Proffitt, 1999). In addition, tool use decreases distance estimations to target objects presumably, because of the increased ability to interact with the object (Witt et al., 2005). In the present experiment, we manipulated participants' ability to grasp tools by changing the position of the tool's handle. Several tools were presented at a varying distances to the left or right of the observer. The objects were either placed in a position and orientation where they were easy to grasp or hard to grasp. Participants estimated the distances to the tool using a visual matching task. Participants estimated the distance to a tool as farther away when the tool was difficult to grasp than when the tool was easy to grasp. These findings support the notion that the ability required to grasp an object affects distance perception.
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