2004 volume 33(5) pages 577 – 590
doi:10.1068/p5090

Cite as:
Witt J K, Proffitt D R, Epstein W, 2004, "Perceiving distance: A role of effort and intent" Perception 33(5) 577 – 590

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Perceiving distance: A role of effort and intent

Jessica K Witt, Dennis R Proffitt, William Epstein

Received 12 May 2003, in revised form 2 February 2004

Abstract. Perceiving egocentric distance is not only a function of the optical variables to which it relates, but also a function of people's current physiological potential to perform intended actions. In a set of experiments, we showed that, as the effort associated with walking increases, perceived distance increases if the perceiver intends to walk the extent, but not if the perceiver intends to throw. Conversely, as the effort associated with throwing increases, perceived distance increases if people intend to throw to the target, but not if they intend to walk. Perceiving distance combines the geometry of the world with our behavior goals and the potential of our body to achieve these goals.

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