People have a distance at which they are best able to judge depth. That distance, it turns out, is dictated by how long people understand their arms to be. Researchers showed this in the Journal of Neuroscience by tricking subjects with virtual reality into thinking their reach was longer than it really was. The result? Their accurate perception of depth via sight moved outward and touch became more sensitive.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — We need to reach for things, so a connection between arm length and our ability to judge depth accurately may make sense. Given that we grow throughout childhood, it may also seem reasonable that such an optimal depth perception distance should be flexible enough to change with a lengthening arm. Recent research in the Journal of Neuroscience provides evidence for these ideas with surprising findings: Scientists showed that they could manipulate the distance at which adult volunteers accurately perceived depth, both through sight and touch, by tricking them into thinking they had a longer reach than they really do. (more…)