Changing Affordances in Stair Climbing: The Perception of Maximum Climbability in Young and Older Adults

Jürgen Konczak, Harry J. Meeuwsen, Marie E. Cress

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations

Abstract

This experiment extended Warren's leg-length model by investigating the relevance of leg strength and joint flexibility on perceptual judgments of climbability. From a set of 8 stairs (riser heights: 38-91 cm), 24 older and 24 young adults were asked to identify the highest stair they could climb without using their hands or knees. Ss then attempted to climb the selected stair. Tall and short young observers perceived similar action boundaries despite leg-length differences. Tall and short older adults had divergent action boundaries when a single-scale leg-length model was applied. A regression model that used flexibility and leg-strength measurements provided a better fit of the older adult data, indicating that models applying functional (kinematic and kinetic) criteria might be useful in describing lawful relationships between organisms and the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-697
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1992

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