2010 volume 39(10) pages 1341 – 1353
doi:10.1068/p6699

Cite as:
Witt J K, Sugovic M, 2010, "Performance and ease influence perceived speed" Perception 39(10) 1341 – 1353

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Performance and ease influence perceived speed

Jessica K Witt, Mila Sugovic

Received 25 March 2010, in revised form 28 August 2010

Abstract. According to the action-specific perception account, perception is a function of optical information and the perceiver’s ability to perform the intended action. While most of the evidence for the action-specific perception account is on spatial perception, in the current experiments we examined similar effects in the perception of speed. Tennis players reproduced the time the ball traveled from the feeder machine to when they hit it. The players judged the ball to be moving faster on trials when they hit the ball out-of-bounds than on trials where they successfully hit the ball in-bounds. Follow-up experiments in the laboratory showed that participants judged virtual balls to be moving slower when they played with a bigger paddle in a modified version of Pong. These studies suggest that performance and task ease influence perceived speed.

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