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Proffitt, D.R., Stefanucci, J., Banton, T., & Epstein, W. (2003). The role of effort in perceiving distance. Psychological Science.

Berkeley (1709) proposed that space is perceived in terms of effort. Consistent with his proposal, we found that egocentric distances appear greater when people are encumbered due to their wearing a heavy backpack or following a visual-motor adaptation that reduces the anticipated optic flow coinciding with walking effort. In accord with Berkeley’s proposal and Gibson’s theory of affordances, these studies show that the perception of spatial layout is influenced by locomotor effort.

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