The impact of visual exploration on judgments of whether a gap Is crossable

Leonard S. Mark, Yang Jiang, Sally Steinbach King, Janina Paasche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


When observers look down into a gap in the ground plane, their judgments of the widest gap they can step across (gapmax) decrease as gap depth increases (Y. Jiang & L. S. Mark, 1994). This study investigated the possibility that Jiang and Mark's viewing conditions did not afford observers a sufficient opportunity to perform exploratory movements needed to detect information about gap width. Experiment 1 showed that the gap depth by gaze interaction disappeared only when restrictions were not imposed on observers' exploratory activities (eye, head, and body movements). Experiment 2 showed that observers tended to see the vertical surface as slanted away from them, which made the bottom of the surface appear farther away from them than the top. Only when observers were able to view the gap binocularly under conditions that did not restrict exploratory activity did their slant perception improve and their gapmax judgments no longer covary with gap depth. The data indicate that the exploratory movements of prospective actors are essential for the pickup of information about their action capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-295
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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