The Multisensory World of Walking and the Tuning of Perception

by Associate Professor of Psychology Frank Durgin "What is perception for? Here I argue that perceptual systems work very hard to improve the precision of perceptual discrimination -- to the point that the metric accuracy of perception is often sacrificed in favor of precision," Durgin says. "This principle is illustrated by many illusions that reveal the way perceptual systems alter their coding spaces when they adapt to contingencies -- such as those that exist in the multisensory array of visual, vestibular, kinesthetic and auditory information produced during walking. Because walking is so common, our perceptions are actually distorted during walking so as to make us more sensitive to the perceptual information that we can expect to receive as feedback. As a result, we are highly tuned to walk accurately but our conscious experiences of the individual sensory variables (e.g., optic flow speed) are often biased and inaccurate during walking."