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Karanka, Joni Tapani
Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: BF
Time-to-contact (TTC) is defined as the remaining time for an object to reach the observer. This is an important quantity for timing an action such as hitting or catching a ball. This thesis deals with learning processes in TTC perception when binocular vision is available. Chapter 1 studies the learning of TTC in relative discrimination tasks. We did not find learning in this task, but we found that simple correlates of TTC explained the judgments made by the participants. Chapter 2 studies the learning of TTC in absolute estimation tasks. We found that the variable and constant error of the responses reduced with training. Chapter 3 studied the use of feedback in calibrating the timing of TTC estimates. We found that biased timing produced changes in the constant error, suggesting that TTC calibration is guided by feedback. Chapter 4 studied if the reduction of variable error was due to an increased perceptual sensitivity to TTC. However, we failed to find transfer from the absolute estimation tasks to relative discrimination tasks, suggesting that the learning found in Chapter 2 might not be of perceptual origin. In Chapter 5 we studied a large group of participants in laboratory tasks and a natural hitting task. We found that the performance in relative discrimination and absolute estimation tasks could be used to predict hitting skill. This suggests that the perception of TTC can be linked with interceptive timing. Taken together, these results suggest that perceptual sensitivity to TTC changes slightly -if at all- with training, but changes in perceptuo-motor mapping and calibration of the estimates that increase interceptive performance do take place.

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