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02-03-2017 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2018

Psychological Research 3/2018

What you see and what you are told: an action-specific effect that is unaffected by explicit feedback

Psychological Research > Uitgave 3/2018
Zachary R. King, Nathan L. Tenhundfeld, Jessica K. Witt
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s00426-017-0848-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


A critical question for theories of spatial vision concerns the nature of the inputs to perception. The action-specific account asserts that information related to action, specifically a perceiver’s ability to perform the intended action, is one of these sources of information. This claim challenges assumptions about the mind in general and perception in particular, and not surprisingly, has been met with much resistance. Alternative explanations include that these effects are due to response bias, rather than genuine differences in perception. Using a paradigm in which ease to block a ball impacts estimated speed of the ball, participants were given explicit feedback about their perceptual judgements to test the response bias alternative. Despite the feedback, the action-specific effect still persisted, thus ruling out a response-bias interpretation. Coupled with other research ruling out additional alternative explanations, the current findings offer an important step towards the claim that a person’s ability to act truly influences spatial perception.

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