September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
Perception of action-relevant egocentric distance is not underestimated in virtual reality
Author Affiliations
  • Hannah Masoner
    University of Southern Mississippi
  • Jonathan Doyon
    University of Southern Mississippi
  • Joseph Clark
    University of Southern Mississippi
  • Alen Hajnal
    University of Southern Mississippi
  • Gabor Legradi
    William Carey University
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 2076. doi:
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      Hannah Masoner, Jonathan Doyon, Joseph Clark, Alen Hajnal, Gabor Legradi; Perception of action-relevant egocentric distance is not underestimated in virtual reality. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):2076.

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

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In the past few decades, advances in virtual reality technologies have led to an explosion of investigations into visual perception. While each new generation of VR systems brings improvements in optics and graphical fidelity, an open question remains: To what degree, and under what circumstances, will visual perception in the real-world correspond to visual perception in the virtual world? The well documented phenomenon of the compression of egocentric distance perception in VR suggests that such correspondence may depend on factors such as graphical fidelity, presence, and the like (Armbrüster et al., 2008). We investigated whether real-world egocentric distance perception would correspond to virtual egocentric distance perception in two experiments. Participants were asked to make affordance judgments about the reachability of a real (Experiment 1) or virtual (Experiment 2) ping pong ball that rested on a real or virtual table, respectively. Participants in both experiments exhibited perceptual boundaries occurring at distances approximately equal to 118% of their physical reaching capabilities. This suggests that, while participants generally overestimated the boundary of their reach, there were no significant differences between the degrees to which this occurred in both types of environments. This underestimation of distance (or overestimation of reach) comports with another well documented phenomenon that suggests people generally overestimate their reaching capabilities by about 20% (Carello et al., 1989; Weast & Proffitt, 2018). The importance of these findings rests in the fact that virtual reality is increasingly being used in psychological, visual, and health related research as well as for different types of neuro-training and therapy. Taken together, these results provide empirical evidence of the close correspondence of perceptual boundaries across the real world and virtual reality.


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