Title

Is Perception of Stand-on-able-ness Equivalent Across Degrees of Dynamic Touch?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 2018

Department

Psychology

Abstract

From the ecological perspective on perception and action, objects and events structure patterned energy distributions such that this structure is specific to its source. Moreover, such structure is invariant over transformations and over particular instances of perceiving. Therefore, the ability to perceive a given functional property is potentially equivalent across both different perceptual modalities and different configurations of the same perceptual modality. We investigated whether this is the case for perception of affordances of a surface that is explored with a part of the body in different contexts. Specifically, we investigated perception of whether an inclined surface could be stood on when the participant explored that surface by stepping onto it with and without bearing weight on the foot. Analyses of the proportion of "yes" responses, the steepest slope angles that were perceived to afford upright stance, and the steepest slope angles that afforded upright stance revealed no differences between perception across the 2 conditions. In particular, there was no difference in perceptual boundaries across the 2 conditions, and neither of these was different from the behavioral boundary. Our findings support the hypothesis that the stimulation patterns supporting perception are invariant across degrees of exploration and are consistent with the hypothesis that the haptic perceptual system is organized as part of a complex biotensegrity system.

Publication Title

The American Journal of Psychology

Volume

131

Issue

2

First Page

141

Last Page

149

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