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Benjamin R. Kunz, Sarah H. Creem-Regehr, William B. Thompson; Testing the generalizability of perceptual-motor calibration on spatial judgments. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):53. doi: 10.1167/10.7.53.
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The relationship between biomechanical action and perception of self-motion during walking is typically consistent and well-learned but also adaptable. This perceptual-motor pairing can be recalibrated by creating a mismatch between the visual perception of self-motion and walking speed. Recalibration has been shown to influence subsequent distance judgments such as blindwalking and imagined walking to previously viewed targets (Rieser et al., 1995; Mohler et al., 2006; 2007; Kunz et al., 2009). Whether perceptual-motor recalibration generally influences the scaling of space or the process of spatial updating during movement is an open question. Moreover, it is unknown if the perceptual-motor calibration resulting from walking influences other types of locomotion that involve spatial updating. We conducted three experiments to determine how broadly perceptual-motor recalibration influences distance perception. In each experiment, participants completed a pretest in a real world hallway, in which they either blindwalked to previously viewed targets (Experiment 1), matched the perceived size of a sphere with their hands (Experiment 2), or wheeled to previously viewed targets in a wheelchair while blindfolded (Experiment 3). After this pretest, participants donned a head-mounted display and walked through a virtual hallway that appeared to move past them at either twice or half their walking speed. Following this recalibration phase, participants returned to the adjacent hallway and repeated the pretest task. While Experiment 1 replicated previous findings that perceptual-motor recalibration influences posttest blindwalking performance, Experiment 2 showed that adaptation to a new perceptual-motor relationship during walking does not influence size judgments, an indirect measure of perceived distance. Experiment 3 suggests that the effect of perceptual-motor recalibration of walking on blind wheelchair locomotion appears relatively weaker and more variable than the effect on blindwalking. These results have implications for understanding the specificity of perceptual-motor calibration and how this calibration influences spatial judgments made within a virtual environment.
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