Author(s): Fink PW, Foo PS, Warren WH
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Abstract How does a baseball outfielder know where to run to catch a fly ball? The "outfielder problem" remains unresolved, and its solution would provide a window into the visual control of action. It may seem obvious that human action is based on an internal model of the physical world, such that the fielder predicts the landing point based on a mental model of the ball's trajectory (TP). However, two alternative theories, Optical Acceleration Cancellation (OAC) and Linear Optical Trajectory (LOT), propose that fielders are led to the right place at the right time by coupling their movements to visual information in a continuous "online" manner. All three theories predict successful catches and similar running paths. We provide a critical test by using virtual reality to perturb the vertical motion of the ball in mid-flight. The results confirm the predictions of OAC but are at odds with LOT and TP.
This article was published in J Vis
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology