Effects of Affordance Perception on the Initiation and Actualization of Action

Joanne Smith, Gert-Jan Pepping

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Studies have shown information specifying some affordances may be faster or easier to perceive than others. This article investigates the effect of affordance perception on the time taken to initiate and perform an action. In particular it focuses on how action timing varies as a function of a continuum of afforded action, that is, around an action-boundary. In Experiment 1, participants made judgments regarding whether they could fit a small ball through a series of different size apertures. Judgments were quick and accurate at the extremes of the affordance scale; however, at the perceived action-boundary longer, more variable initiation times (ITs) were observed. Trials repeated over 3 consecutive days revealed a systematic change in the IT distribution and demonstrated that IT is highly sensitive to changes in location of the perceived action-boundary. In Experiment 2 effects of action-scaling were observed on IT and movement time of afforded actions: around the perceived action-boundary the afforded action took longer to be both perceived and acted upon. The results highlight that affordance perception influences not only action selection and preparation but also the action itself. The findings are discussed in terms of the informational basis of action responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-149
Number of pages31
JournalEcological psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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