Date Thesis Awarded

12-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Peter M. Vishton

Committee Members

Daniel A. Cristol

M. Christine Porter

Catherine A. Forestell

Abstract

Actions, whether performed or mentally planned, have been demonstrated to have an effect on the way that we perceive size and distance within the space around us. Acting upon the Ebbinghaus Illusion reduces the magnitude of the illusion. The use of tools to engage in actions has been demonstrated to expand peripersonal space and compress perceived distance. Specifically, remote tools, or manual tools that indirectly interact with objects, have been demonstrated by Davoli, Brockmole, and Witt (2012) to compress perceived distance in a similar manner to manual tools. The experiment described in this thesis first tested the effect of remote tool use on size perception, using the Ebbinghaus Illusion as a measure of size perception, and second, measured the effect of remote tool use on distance judgments in a typical university classroom. Data indicate that there is not an effect of remote tool use on size perception at a distance. Trends in the distance perception data suggest that there may be an effect of remote tool use on distance perception, but that the effect may be a perceived distance expansion, contrary to predictions. Potential contextual interpretations for this effect, including differences in tool use, setting, and methodology between this study and the study of Davoli et al. are discussed. The experiment suggests that the effect of remote tool use on distance perception is contingent upon some combination of environmental and individual factors, which call for more exploration in future studies. The experiment also suggests that whatever mechanisms affect size perception are not identical to the mechanisms which affect distance perception.

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