The impact of visual illusions on perception, action planning, and motor performance.

TitleThe impact of visual illusions on perception, action planning, and motor performance.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsWood G, Vine SJ, Wilson MR
JournalAttention, perception & psychophysics
Date Published2013 Jul

The present study extended recent research revealing that illusions can influence performance in golf putting (Witt, Linkenauger, & Proffitt Psychological Science, 23, 397-399, 2012), by exploring the potential mediating roles of attention and action planning. Glover and Dixon's (Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance, 27, 560-572, 2001) planning-control model suggests that both perceptual and movement-planning processes are prone to illusion-based bias. We therefore predicted that both the perception of target size and a measure of attentional control related to movement planning in golf putting (the quiet eye) would be influenced by the illusion. Moreover, as performance could not be corrected using online control (once the ball was struck), we predicted that these biases would also influence performance. We therefore proposed a three-stage process by which illusory context biases perceptual processes, which in turn bias subsequent attentional control related to movement planning, which in turn biases motor performance. Forty novice golfers completed an Ebbinghaus illusion putting task that was designed to manipulate their perceptions of target size, while quiet eye duration and performance (mean radial error) were measured. The results indicated that the illusion was effective in facilitating differences in perceived target size, with perceptually bigger holes promoting longer quiet eye durations and more accurate putting. Follow-up mediation analyses revealed that illusion-based differences in size perception partially mediated illusion-based differences in both quiet eye duration and performance. Moreover, the relationship between illusion-based differences in quiet eye duration and performance was also significant. Future research should further test this three-stage process of bias in other far-aiming tasks in which online control cannot be used.

Alternate JournalAtten Percept Psychophys