How can people be so good at intercepting accelerating objects if they are so poor at visually judging acceleration?

E. Brenner, I Abalo, V Estal, S Schootemeijer, Y Mahieu, K Veerkamp, M Zandbergen, T van der Zee, J.B.J. Smeets

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

People are known to be very poor at visually judging acceleration. Yet, they are extremely proficient at intercepting balls that fall under gravitational acceleration. How is this possible? We previously found that people make systematic errors when trying to tap on targets that move with different constant accelerations or decelerations on interleaved trials. Here, we show that providing contextual information that indicates how the target will decelerate on the next trial does not reduce such errors. Such errors do rapidly diminish if the same deceleration is present on successive trials. After observing several targets move with a particular acceleration or deceleration without attempting to tap on them, participants tapped as if they had never experienced the acceleration or deceleration. Thus, people presumably deal with acceleration when catching or hitting a ball by compensating for the errors that they made on preceding attempts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2041669515624317
Pages (from-to)1-13
Journali-Perception
Volume27
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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