The Effects of Periodic Visual Occlusion on Ball Catching
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Four experiments were conducted to examine the effects of periodic visual occlusion on one-handed ball catching. Tennis balls were projected one at a time over distances of 8-12 m, and liquid-crystal visual occlusion spectacles provided intermittent vision by opening and closing the lens shutters at different frequencies. As well as frequency, we manipulated duty cycle, or the proportion of time that the lenses were open. Generally, catching performance deteriorated as frequency was reduced. Although longer visual samples (i.e., increased duty cycle) mediated this effect to some extent, the most potent variable was the time between visual samples; performance deteriorated rapidly when this interval was greater than 80 ms (i.e., 10 Hz with 20-ms lens open times). Presumably this occurred because subjects had difficulty integrating visual information separated by longer temporal intervals.
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