September 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2018
Visual Biases Near Hand-held and Remotely Controlled Tools
Author Affiliations
  • Robert McManus
    Center for Visual and Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, North Dakota State University
  • Laura Thomas
    Center for Visual and Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, North Dakota State University
Journal of Vision September 2018, Vol.18, 839. doi:
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      Robert McManus, Laura Thomas; Visual Biases Near Hand-held and Remotely Controlled Tools. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):839. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Previous work has shown that observers are faster to detect targets appearing near the hands than they are to detect targets appearing outside of peripersonal space. Interestingly, target detection is also facilitated in the space around a hand-held tool (e.g., Reed et al., 2010). Presumably, these visual biases occur because active, goal-directed use of hand-held tools expands representations of peripersonal space to incorporate the functional action area around the tool. In this project, we explore whether this same phenomenon can apply to remotely controlled tools. Although both hand-held and remotely controlled tools expand the area in which users can successfully perform actions, only remotely controlled tools create action areas that are non-contiguous with the body. Across two experiments, we measured participants' reaction times to detect targets appearing near or far from a hand-held tool (Experiment 1) or a remotely controlled drone (Experiment 2). Prior to visual testing, participants in both experiments used the tools to rake sand, expanding action space. Replicating previous findings, we found that after active tool use, participants in Experiment 1 were facilitated in detecting targets appearing near a hand-held tool. However, participants in Experiment 2 showed no difference in target detection speed for targets appearing near and far from the drone. These results suggest that goal-directed action may not be sufficient to introduce visual biases near a tool, but instead that these biases occur only for tools that are contiguous with the body.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018


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