Effort and Distance (06-10-20)

Molto and team’s work indicates that multiple factors influence how far away something seems to be.  The researchers report that “Previous studies have suggested that action constraints influence visual perception of distance.  For example, the greater the effort to cover a distance, the longer people perceive this distance to be.  The present . . . meta-analysis . . . supported the existence of a small action-constraint effect on distance estimation. . . . This effect varied slightly according to the action-constraint category (effort, weight, tool use). . . Our meta-analysis provided extremely strong evidence for the existence of an overall action-constraint effect on distance perception.” As an example of an action-constraint study that had been conducted, Molto and colleagues refer to research by Witt, Profitt, and Epstein (2005) who found that “participants estimated that a target was closer to them when they could use a tool to reach it more easily (low constraint) than when they could not (high constraint).”

Lisa Molto, Ladislas Nalborczyk, Richard Palluel-Germain, and Nicolas Morgado.  2020. “Action Effects on Visual Perception of Distances:  A Mutlilevel Bayesian Meta-Analysis.”  Psychological Science, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 488-504, DOI: 10.1177/0956797619900336