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The influence of perceptual motor variability on the perception of action boundaries for reaching in a real-world setting

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>22/07/2021
Publication StatusAccepted/In press
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The ability to accurately perceive the extent over which one can act is requisite for the successful execution of visually-guided actions. Yet, like other outcomes of perceptual-motor experience, our perceived action boundaries are not stagnant, but in constant flux. Hence, the perceptual systems must account for variability in one’s action capabilities in order for the perceiver to determine when they are capable of successfully performing an action. Recent work has found that, after reaching with a virtual arm that varied between short and long each time they reach, individuals determine their perceived action boundaries using the most liberal reaching experience. However, these studies were conducted in virtual reality, and the perceptual systems may handle variability differently in a real-world setting. To test this hypothesis, we created a modified orthopaedic elbow brace that mimic injury in the upper limb by restricting elbow extension via remote control. Participants were asked to make reachability judgements after training in which the maximum extent of their reaching ability was either unconstricted, constricted or variable over several calibration trials. Findings from the current study didn’t conform to those in virtual reality; participants were more conservative with their reachability estimates after experiencing variability in a real-world setting.