2005 volume 34(2) pages 191 – 204
doi:10.1068/p5144

Cite as:
Creem-Regehr S H, Willemsen P, Gooch A A, Thompson W B, 2005, "The influence of restricted viewing conditions on egocentric distance perception: Implications for real and virtual indoor environments" Perception 34(2) 191 – 204

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The influence of restricted viewing conditions on egocentric distance perception: Implications for real and virtual indoor environments

Sarah H Creem-Regehr, Peter Willemsen, Amy A Gooch, William B Thompson

Received 8 September 2003, in revised form 31 August 2004; published online 23 February 2005

Abstract. We carried out three experiments to examine the influence of field of view and binocular viewing restriction s on absolute distance perception in real-world indoor environments. Few of the classical visual cues provide direct information for accurate absolute distance judgments to points in the environment beyond about 2 m from the viewer. Nevertheless, in previous work it has been found that visually directed walking tasks reveal accurate distance estimations in full-cue real-world environments to distances up to 20 m. In contrast, the same tasks in virtual environments produced with head-mounted displays (HMDs) show large compression of distance. Field of view and binocular viewing are common limitations in research with HMDs, and have been rarely studied under full pictorial-cue conditions in the context of distance perception in the real-world. Experiment 1 showed that the view of one's body and feet on the floor was not necessary for accurate distance perception. In experiment 2 we manipulated the horizontal and the vertical field of view along with head rotation and found that a restricted field of view did not affect the accuracy of distance estimations when head movement was allowed. Experiment 3 showed that performance with monocular viewing was equal to that with binocular viewing. These results have implications for the information needed to scale egocentric distance in the real-world and reduce the support for the hypothesis that a limited field of view or imperfections in binocular image presentation are the cause of the underestimation seen with HMDs.

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