Walking with avatars: Gait-related visual information for following a virtual leader

Meerhoff, L. A., De Poel, H. J., Jowett, T. W. D. & Button, C., Aug-2019, In : Human Movement Science. 66, p. 173-185 13 p.

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  • Walking with avatars: Gait-related visual information for following a virtual leader

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Dynamic situations, such as interactive sports or walking on a busy street, impose high demands on a person's ability to interact with (others in) its environment (i.e., 'interact-ability'). The current study examined how distance regulation, a fundamental component of these interactions, is mediated by different sources of visual information. Participants were presented with a back and forwards moving virtual leader, which they had to follow by walking back and forwards themselves. We presented the leader in several appearances that differed in the presence of segmental (i.e., relative movements of body segments), cadence-related (i.e., sway and bounce), and global (i.e., optical expansion-compression) information. Results indicated that removing segmental motion information from the virtual leader significantly deteriorated both temporal synchronization and spatial accuracy of the follower to the leader, especially when the movement path of the leader was less regular/predictable. However, no difference was found between cadence-related and global motion information appearances. We argue that regulating distance with others effectively requires a versatile attunement to segmental and global motion information depending on the specific task demands. The results further support the notion that detection of especially segmental information allows for more timely 'anticipatory' tuning to another person's locomotor movements and intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-185
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Movement Science
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2019


  • Distance-regulation, Interpersonal coordination, Locomotion, Dynamical systems, Ecological psychology, INTERPERSONAL COORDINATION, COLLISION-AVOIDANCE, BIOLOGICAL MOTION, WORLD RECORD, TYSON GAY, MOVEMENT, DYNAMICS, PERCEPTION, DISTANCE, CROWD

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