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Conference Paper

Vision and Action in Virtual Environments: Modern Psychophysics in Spatial Cognition Research

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83839

Bülthoff,  HH
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84273

van Veen,  H-J
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Bülthoff, H., & van Veen, H.-J. (2001). Vision and Action in Virtual Environments: Modern Psychophysics in Spatial Cognition Research. In Vision and Attention (pp. 233-252). New York, NY, USA: Springer.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-E312-1
Abstract
The classical psychophysical approach to human perception has been to study isolated aspects of perception using well-controlled and strongly simplified laboratory stimuli. This so-called cue reduction technique has successfully led to the identification of numerous perceptual mechanisms, and has in many cases guided the uncoverage of neural correlates (see chapters elsewhere in this volume). Its limitation, however, lie in the almost complete ignorance of the intimate relation-ship among action, perception, and the environment in which we live. Real world situations are so different from the stimuli used in classical psychophysics and the context in which they arte presented that applying laboratory results to daily life situations often become impractical, if not impossible. At the Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, we pursue a behavioural approach to human action and perception that proves especially well suited for studying more complex cognitive functions, such as object recognition and spatial cognition. The recent availability of high-fidelity "virtual reality" environments enables us to provide subjects a level of sensory realism and dynamic sensory feedback that approaches their experiences in the real world. At the same time, we can keep the ultimate control over all stimulus aspects that are required by the rules of psychophysics. In this chapter, we take a closer look at these developments in spatial cognition research and present results from several different experimental studies that we have conducted using this approach.