This article is open access:
Humans use predictive kinematic models to calibrate visual cues to three-dimensional surface slant
Scarfe, P. and Glennerster, A. Journal of Neuroscience, 34, 10394-10401 (2014)
When the sensory consequences of an action are systematically altered our brain can recalibrate the mappings between sensory cues and properties of our environment. This recalibration can be driven by both cue conflicts and altered sensory statistics, but neither mechanism offers a way for cues to be calibrated so they provide accurate information about the world, as sensory cues carry no information as to their own accuracy. Here, we explored whether sensory predictions based on internal physical models could be used to accurately calibrate visual cues to 3D surface slant. Human observers played a 3D kinematic game in which they adjusted the slant of a surface so that a moving ball would bounce off the surface and through a target hoop. In one group, the ball's bounce was manipulated so that the surface behaved as if it had a different slant to that signaled by visual cues. With experience of this altered bounce, observers recalibrated their perception of slant so that it was more consistent with the assumed laws of kinematics and physical behavior of the surface. In another group, making the ball spin in a way that could physically explain its altered bounce eliminated this pattern of recalibration. Importantly, both groups adjusted their behavior in the kinematic game in the same way, experienced the same set of slants and were not presented with low-level cue conflicts that could drive the recalibration. We conclude that observers use predictive kinematic models to accurately calibrate visual cues to 3D properties of world.
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