SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 8.1: Blake, R., Turner, L. M., Smoski, M. J., Pozdol, S. L., & Stone, W. L. (2003). Visual recognition of biological motion is impaired in children with autism. Psychological Science, 14(2), 151-157. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.01434

Abstract: Autistic children and typically developing control children were tested on two visual tasks, one involving grouping of small line elements into a global figure and the other involving perception of human activity portrayed in point-light animations. Performance of the two groups was equivalent on the figure task, but autistic children were significantly impaired on the biological motion task. This latter deficit may be related to the impaired social skills characteristic of autism, and we speculate that this deficit may implicate abnormalities in brain areas mediating perception of human movement.

Journal Article 8.2: Smith, T. J., Levin, D., & Cutting, J. E. (2012). A window on reality: Perceiving edited moving images. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21(2), 107-113. doi:10.1177/0963721412437407

Abstract: Edited moving images entertain, inform, and coerce us throughout our daily lives, yet until recently, the way people perceive movies has received little psychological attention. We review the history of empirical investigations into movie perception and the recent explosion of new research on the subject using methods such as behavioral experiments, functional magnetic resonance imagery eye tracking, and statistical corpus analysis. The Hollywood style of moviemaking, which permeates a wide range of visual media, has evolved formal conventions that are compatible with the natural dynamics of attention and humans’ assumptions about continuity of space, time, and action. Identifying how people overcome the sensory differences between movies and reality provides an insight into how the same cognitive processes are used to perceive continuity in the real world.

Journal Article 8.3: Thurman, S. M., & Lu, H. (2013). Physical and biological constraints govern perceived animacy of scrambled human forms. Psychological Science, 24(7), 1133-1141. doi:10.1177/0956797612467212

Abstract: Point-light animations of biological motion are perceived quickly and spontaneously, giving rise to an irresistible sensation of animacy. However, the mechanisms that support judgments of animacy based on biological motion remain unclear. The current study demonstrates that animacy ratings increase when a spatially scrambled animation of human walking maintains consistency with two fundamental constraints: the direction of gravity and congruency between the directions of intrinsic and extrinsic motion. Furthermore, using a reverse-correlation method, we show that observers employ structural templates, or form-based “priors,” reflecting the prototypical mammalian body plan when attributing animacy to scrambled human forms. These findings reveal that perception of animacy in scrambled biological motion involves not only analysis of local intrinsic motion, but also its congruency with global extrinsic motion and global spatial structure. Thus, they suggest a strong influence of prior knowledge about characteristic features of creatures in the natural environment.

Journal Article 8.4: Witt, J. K. (2011). Action’s effect on perception. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(3), 201-206. doi:10.1177/0963721411408770

Abstract: According to the action-specific perception account, people perceive the environment in terms of their ability to act in it. For example, softball players who are hitting better see the ball as bigger. Factors that affect ability and thus influence perception include body size, body control and coordination, energetic potential, and the challenges of the task. Acknowledging the influence of ability on perception challenges the traditional view that perception provides an objective, behaviorally independent representation of the environment. Instead, perception captures the mutual relationship between the environment and the perceiver’s abilities. Consequently, these effects are potentially adaptive for helping perceivers plan future actions based on their abilities.