Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The ability to block a moving ball affected the ball’s perceived speed

Is There a Chastity Belt on Perception? Jessica Witt, Nathan Tenhundfeld and Michael Tymoski. Psychological Science,  https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617730892

Abstract: Can one’s ability to perform an action, such as hitting a softball, influence one’s perception? According to the action-specific account, perception of spatial layout is influenced by the perceiver’s abilities to perform an intended action. Alternative accounts posit that purported effects are instead due to nonperceptual processes, such as response bias. Despite much confirmatory research on both sides of the debate, researchers who promote a response-bias account have never used the Pong task, which has yielded one of the most robust action-specific effects. Conversely, researchers who promote a perceptual account have rarely used the opposition’s preferred test for response bias, namely, the postexperiment survey. The current experiments rectified this. We found that even for people naive to the experiment’s hypothesis, the ability to block a moving ball affected the ball’s perceived speed. Moreover, when participants were explicitly told the hypothesis and instructed to resist the influence of their ability to block the ball, their ability still affected their perception of the ball’s speed.

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