Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Psychology
Jeffrey B. Wagman
To successfully perform everyday behaviors, people must be able to perceive affordances.
Two general categories of affordances have been investigated: body-scaled affordances depend on geometric properties (e.g., arm length) and action-scaled affordances depend on dynamic properties (e.g., maximum running speed, body compressibility, etc.). The fact that these affordances depend on different kinds of relationships between animal and environment, suggests that body scaled affordances and action scaled affordances may be qualitatively different. We investigated this hypothesis by using a transfer of calibration paradigm. In particular, we investigated whether improvements in perception of maximum stepping distance (a body scaled affordance) transferred to perception of maximum leaping distance (an action scaled affordance), and vice versa. Participants reported maximum stepping and leaping distances in three different phases: a pre-test, practice session, and a post-test. In the practice session, half of the participants practiced performing a maximum distance step or leap, and half did not practice performing either behavior. The results showed that practice performing a maximum distance leap improved perception of maximum leaping distance and maximum stepping distance. Practice performing a maximum distance step brought about no changes in perception of maximum leaping or stepping distance. Such results suggest that body-scaled affordances and action-scaled affordances may be related hierarchically. In other words, it is likely that all body scaled affordances are action scaled affordances, but not vice versa.
Day, Brian Michael, "Perception of Maximum Stepping and Leaping Ability" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. 168.