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Exploratory behaviors and recalibration: What processes are shared between functionally similar affordances?

  • Author(s): Franchak, John M
  • et al.

Recalibration of affordance perception allows observers to adapt to changes in the body's size or abilities that alter possibilities for action. Of key interest is understanding how exploratory behaviors lead to successful recalibration. The present study was designed to test a novel hypothesis-that the same processes of exploration and recalibration should generalize between affordances that share a similar function. Most affordances for fitting the body through openings are recalibrated without feedback from practicing the action; locomotion exploration is sufficient. The present study used a different fitting task, squeezing through doorways, to determine whether locomotor experience was sufficient for recalibrating to changes in body size that altered affordances. Participants were unable to recalibrate from locomotor experience, demonstrating that exploratory behaviors do not necessarily generalize between functionally similar affordances. Participants only recalibrated following action practice or after receiving feedback about judgment accuracy, suggesting that the informational requirements of the squeezing task may differ from those of other fitting tasks. Implications for affordance theory are discussed.

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