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Scott T. Steinmetz, Oliver W. Layton, Nathaniel V. Powell, Brett R. Fajen; Affordance-based versus current-future accounts of choosing whether to pursue or abandon the chase of a moving target. Journal of Vision 2020;20(3):8. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.3.8.
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Affordance-based control and current-future control offer competing theoretical accounts of the visual control of locomotion. The aim of this study was to test predictions derived from these accounts about the necessity of self-motion (Experiment 1) and target-ground contact (Experiment 2) in perceiving whether a moving target can be intercepted before it reaches an escape zone. We designed a novel interception task wherein the ability to perceive target catchability before initiating movement was advantageous. Subjects pursued a target moving through a field in a virtual environment and attempted to intercept the target before it escaped into a forest. Targets were catchable on some trials but not others. If subjects perceived that they could not reach the target, they were instructed to immediately give up by pressing a button. After each trial, subjects received a point reward that incentivized them to pursue only those targets that were catchable. On the majority of trials, subjects either pursued and successfully intercepted the target or chose not to pursue at all, demonstrating that humans are sensitive to catchability while stationary. Performance also degraded when the target was floating rather than in contact with the ground. Both findings are incompatible with the current-future account and support the affordance-based account of choosing whether to pursue moving targets.
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