The purpose of this study was to determine whether the amount of viewing time prior to crossing a converging aperture would affect individuals' perceptions about passability. It was hypothesized that shorter durations of viewing would negatively affect response time (RT) and passability accuracy of a converging aperture.
Eleven adults (x=20.77+/-0.83years) walked along a 7.5m pathway towards a goal in virtual reality while two avatars moved at various rates along 45° converging angles towards a theoretical crossing area. Aperture widths at the theoretical crossing area ranged from 0.8 to 1.8x shoulder width, at increments of 0.2. Visual information was removed at 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0s prior to theoretical crossing and participants were instructed to indicate whether they were able to successfully pass through the approaching avatars without rotating their shoulders.
Results revealed that there was a main effect of disappearance time on RT, such that removing the scene 2.0s prior to crossing resulted in slower RTs (M=1.157,) compared 0.5s, 1.0, or 1.5 (M=0.608; M=.845; M=1.059; respectively). There was also a main effect of disappearance time on accuracy, such that participants' estimation of passability became less accurate as the disappearance time increased from 0.5s to 2.0s (p<.001).
Results demonstrate that individuals' perceptions about passability of apertures is affected by the temporality of visual stimuli. Less viewing time negatively affected RTs and accuracy in perceiving the passability of an aperture. Suggesting that individuals utilize heuristic information in situations where there is less viewing time and are unable to extrapolate future aperture widths.