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Perceiving action boundaries for overhead reaching in a height-related situation

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>29/03/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Number of pages16
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date29/03/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


To successfully interact within our environment, individuals need to learn the maximum extent (or minimum) over which they can perform actions, popularly referred to as action boundaries. Because people learn such boundaries over time from perceptual motor feedback across different contexts, both environmental and physiological, the information upon which action boundaries are based must inherently be characterised by variability. With respect to reaching, recent work suggests that regardless of the type of variability present in their perceptual-motor experience, individuals favoured a liberal action boundary for horizontal reaching. However, the ways in which action boundaries are determined following perceptual-motor variability could also vary depending on the environmental context as well as the type of reach employed. The present research aimed to established whether the perceptual system utilises the same strategy for all types of reaches over different contexts. Participants estimated their overhead reachability following experience reaching with either a long or a short virtual arm, or a virtual arm that varied in length – while standing on the edge of a rooftop or standing on the ground. Results indicated that while similar strategies were used to determine action boundaries in both height- and non-height-related context, participants were significantly more conservative with their reachability estimates in the height-related context. Participants were sensitive to the probabilistic information associated with different arm’s reach they have experienced during the calibration phase, and used a weighted average of reaching experience to determine their action boundary under conditions of uncertainty