[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a series of experiments that explore the boundary conditions for how emotional arousal influences height estimates. Four experiments are presented, which investigated the influence of context, situation-relevance, intensity, and attribution of arousal on height estimates. In Experiment 1, we manipulated the environmental context to signal either danger (viewing a height from above) or safety (viewing a height from below). High arousal only increased height estimates made from above. In Experiment 2, two arousal inductions were used that contained either 1) height-relevant arousing images or 2) height-irrelevant arousing images. Regardless of theme, arousal increased height estimates compared to a neutral group. In Experiment 3, arousal intensity was manipulated by inserting an intermediate or long delay between the induction and height estimates. A brief, but not a long, delay from the arousal induction served to increase height estimates. In Experiment 4, an attribution manipulation was included, and those participants who were made aware of the source of their arousal reduced their height estimates compared to participants who received no attribution instructions. Thus, arousal that is attributed to its true source is discounted from feelings elicited by the height, thereby reducing height estimates. Overall, we suggest that misattributed, embodied arousal is used as a cue when estimating heights from above that can lead to overestimation.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(4):e92024. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Perception of the layout of the environment may be influenced by factors other than the physical information provided to the retina, including self-regulatory and psychosocial resources. We tested whether depletion of self-regulatory resources affected estimates of the height of a balcony and whether a psychosocial resource could substitute for self-regulatory resources among individuals making such estimates. Undergraduates performed a self-regulation depletion task and a values-affirmation task or their control equivalents in a 2 × 2 design (N = 80) and viewed a balcony height from above. A rope was attached to the height to make action on the height possible. Those who expended self-regulatory resources overestimated the balcony height more than the control group (both groups overestimated relative to the true height). However, this effect was counteracted by the values-affirmation task. Depleted participants who affirmed core values did not overestimate the height as much, resulting in estimates similar to the non-depleted participants. These results were not mediated by perceived threat posed by the height, positive mood or more specific positive, other-directed feelings. Our results suggest that visual perception of a threatening environment can be affected by the resources available to the perceiver for performing action on the environment.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 01/2014;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The superordinate mechanism view of emotions predicts that fear should influence perception to carry out the evolved function of overcoming immediate threats. Previous work demonstrates that fear does adaptively influence visual perception. However, there are recurring situations in which auditory perception is used for overcoming immediate threats (e.g., avoiding predators after dark). Some research suggests that the auditory system, independent of fear, is adaptively biased to hear approaching sounds as closer than equidistant receding sounds (a.k.a. the looming bias). The present study investigated whether fear, as a superordinate mechanism, influences auditory perception such that sounds are perceived to be closer, ultimately providing an advantage when avoiding immediate threats. Participants judged whether or not they could reach to an aurally or visually perceived target while either in a fearful or neutral state. The results demonstrated that while in a fearful state, participants judged targets to be closer to them, but only when the target was perceived aurally. This finding extends previous work on adaptive biases in auditory perception to include the influence of fear.
Evolution and Human Behavior 01/2013; 34(1):49–54. · 3.95 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding what another agent can see relates functionally to the understanding of what they can do. We propose that spatial perspective taking and perceiving other's affordances, while two separate spatial processes, together share the common social function of predicting the behavior of others. Perceiving the action capabilities of others allows for a common understanding of how agents may act together. The ability to take another's perspective focuses an understanding of action goals so that more precise understanding of intentions may result. This review presents an analysis of these complementary abilities, both in terms of the frames of reference and the proposed sensorimotor mechanisms involved. Together, we argue for the importance of reconsidering the role of basic spatial processes to explain more complex behaviors.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2013; 7:596. · 2.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Three experiments examined perceived absolute distance in a head-mounted display virtual environment (HMD-VE) and a matched real-world environment, as a function of the type and orientation of the distance viewed. In Experiment 1, participants turned and walked, without vision, a distance to match the viewed interval for both egocentric (viewer-to-target) and exocentric (target-to-target) extents. Egocentric distances were underestimated in the HMD-VE while exocentric distances were estimated similarly across environments. Since egocentric distances were displayed in the depth plane and exocentric distances in the frontal plane, the pattern of results could have been related to the orientation of the distance or to the type of distance. Experiments 2 and 3 tested these alternatives. Participants estimated exocentric distances presented along the depth or frontal plane either by turning and walking (Experiment 2) or by turning and throwing a beanbag to indicate the perceived extent (Experiment 3). For both Experiments 2 and 3, depth intervals were underestimated in the HMD-VE compared to the real world. However, frontal intervals were estimated similarly across environments. The findings suggest anisotropy in HMD-VE distance perception such that distance underestimation in the HMD-VE generalizes to intervals in the depth plane, but not to intervals in the frontal plane. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception & Performance 03/2012; 38(5):1242-53. · 2.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined whether manipulating the imagined consequences of falling would influence the perception of height, distance, and size. In experiment 1, height and size perception were measured when participants stood at a short height (0.89 m) or a medium height (1.91 m) above either an empty pool or a pool filled with a bed of nails. Participants who viewed the bed of nails and imagined falling into it estimated both the height as taller and the size of the bed of nails as larger than participants who imagined falling into an empty pool. In a second experiment, participants overestimated the horizontal ground distance to and across the bed of nails after being told to imagine jumping over it. Overall, these experiments suggest that costs associated with imagined actions can influence the perception of both vertical and horizontal extents that are not inherently dangerous.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Traditionally, perception was considered to be an encapsulated process that was unaffected by top-down processes like affect. Recent work in vision draws this framework into question by showing that changes in the affective state of the perceiver can impact many different aspects of visual perception. Here, we extend the relationship between affect and perception into another perceptual modality: audition. Participants were induced into a negative or neutral mood by writing about a frightening or neutral experience in their past. They then listened to a series of short, neutral tones (320 and 640 ms) and rated the loudness and duration of the tones. Participants in a negative mood rated the tones as significantly louder, but not longer, than participants in a neutral mood, suggesting that the difference between the groups was perceptual rather than just a response bias. This research shows for the first time that the role of affect in perceptual processes may be more pervasive than previously considered.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current review introduces a new program of research that suggests the perception of spatial layout is influenced by emotions. Though perceptual systems are often described as closed and insulated, this review presents research suggesting that a variety of induced emotions (e.g., fear, disgust, sadness) can produce changes in vision and audition. Thus, the perceptual system may be highly interconnected, allowing emotional information to influence perceptions that, in turn, influence cognition. The body of work presented here also suggests that emotion-based changes in perception help us solve particular adaptive problems because emotion does not change all perceptions of the world. Taking the adaptive significance of emotion into account allows us to make predictions about when and how emotion influences perception.
Social and Personality Psychology Compass 06/2011; 5(6):296-308.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous research has shown that hills appear steeper to those who are fatigued, encumbered, of low physical fitness, elderly, or in declining health (Bhalla & Proffitt, 1999; Proffitt, Bhalla, Gossweiler, & Midgett, 1995). The prevailing interpretation of this research is that observers' perceptions of the environment are influenced by their capacity to navigate that environment. The current studies extend this programme by investigating more subtle embodied effects on perception of slant; namely those of mood. In two studies, with two different mood manipulations, and two estimates of slant in each, observers in a sad mood reported hills to be steeper. These results support the role of mood and motivational factors in influencing spatial perception, adding to the previous work showing that energetic potential can influence perception.
Cognition and Emotion 01/2011; 25(1):174-82. · 2.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous research has demonstrated that manipulating vision influences balance. Here, we question whether manipulating balance can influence vision and how it may influence vision--specifically, the perception of width. In Experiment 1, participants estimated the width of beams while balanced and unbalanced. When unbalanced, participants judged the widths to be smaller. One possible explanation is that unbalanced participants did not view the stimulus as long as when balanced because they were focused on remaining balanced. In Experiment 2, we tested this notion by limiting viewing time. Experiment 2 replicated the findings of Experiment 1, but viewing time had no effect on width judgments. In Experiment 3, participants' level of arousal was manipulated, because the balancing task likely produced arousal. While jogging, participants judged the beams to be smaller. In Experiment 4, participants completed another arousing task (counting backward by sevens) that did not involve movement. Again, participants judged the beams to be smaller when aroused. Experiment 5A raised participants' level of arousal before estimating the board widths (to control for potential dual-task effects) and showed that heightened arousal still influenced perceived width of the boards. Collectively, heightened levels of arousal, caused by multiple manipulations (including balance), influenced perceived width.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent research shows that the body is used to scale environmental extents. We question whether the body is used to scale heights as measured by real actions (Experiments 1 and 2) or by judgments about action and extent made from a single viewpoint (Experiments 3 and 4). First, participants walked under barriers naturally, when wearing shoes, or when wearing a helmet. Participants required a larger margin of safety (they ducked at shorter heights) when they were made taller. In follow-up experiments, participants visually matched barrier heights and judged whether they could walk under them when wearing shoes or a helmet. Only the helmet decreased visually matched estimates; action judgments were no different when participants' eye height increased. The final experiment suggested that the change in matched estimates may have been due to lack of experience wearing the helmet. Overall, the results suggest that perceived height is scaled to the body and that when body height is altered, experience may moderate the rescaling of height.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Perception of an accurate sense of the scale depicted in computer graphics is important for many applications. How to best characterize the accuracy of space perception in computer graphics is a question that does not have a simple answer. This paper describes the use of perceived affordances as a way of measuring the perceptual fidelity of virtual environments with respect to how well they convey information about geometric scale. The methodology involves a verbal indication that a particular action can or cannot be performed in a viewed environment. By varying the spatial structure of the environment, these affordance judgments can be used to probe how accurately viewers are able to perceive action-relevant spatial information. The result is a measure relevant to action, less subject to bias than verbal reports of more primitive properties such as size or distance, and applicable to non-virtual-environment display systems in which the actual action cannot be performed. We demonstrate the approach in an experiment comparing one type of affordance judgment, perceived passability, with judgments of size and distance in matched real world and virtual world environments.
Proceedings of the 7th Symposium on Applied Perception in Graphics and Visualization, APGV 2010, Los Angeles, California, July 23-24, 2010; 01/2010