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11-06-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 4/2017

Psychological Research 4/2017

Self-estimation of physical ability in stepping over an obstacle is not mediated by visual height perception: a comparison between young and older adults

Tijdschrift:
Psychological Research > Uitgave 4/2017
Auteurs:
Ryota Sakurai, Yoshinori Fujiwara, Masami Ishihara, Masashi Yasunaga, Susumu Ogawa, Hiroyuki Suzuki, Kuniyasu Imanaka

Abstract

Older adults tend to overestimate their step-over ability. However, it is unclear as to whether this is caused by inaccurate self-estimation of physical ability or inaccurate perception of height. We, therefore, measured both visual height perception ability and self-estimation of step-over ability among young and older adults. Forty-seven older and 16 young adults performed a height perception test (HPT) and a step-over test (SOT). Participants visually judged the height of vertical bars from distances of 7 and 1 m away in the HPT, then self-estimated and, subsequently, actually performed a step-over action in the SOT. The results showed no significant difference between young and older adults in visual height perception. In the SOT, young adults tended to underestimate their step-over ability, whereas older adults either overestimated their abilities or underestimated them to a lesser extent than did the young adults. Moreover, visual height perception was not correlated with the self-estimation of step-over ability in both young and older adults. These results suggest that the self-overestimation of step-over ability which appeared in some healthy older adults may not be caused by the nature of visual height perception, but by other factor(s), such as the likely age-related nature of self-estimation of physical ability, per se.

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