Catching Virtual Throws: An Immersive Virtual Reality Setup to Evaluate Human Predictive Skills
We present and validate a novel and portable IVR setup conceived for studying the predictive mechanisms associated to action observation. The setup implements an interactive throwing-catching task in which participants have to intercept balls thrown from a virtual character. To validate the setup, we performed a preliminary experiment in which participants had to intercept balls thrown by different throwers, under different ball/thrower visibility conditions. Non-expert adult participants were able to extract information from an observed throwing action to improve their interceptive performances. This ability was modulated by the throwing strategy (e.g. throwing from a fixed stance with respect to throwing with stepping corresponded to worse interceptive performances). These preliminary results validate our setup as a novel tool for exploring how humans access and make use of information from observed actions to optimize interpersonal interactions. Importantly, the proposed setup could be used as a tool for early diagnosis of pathologies in which predictive skills are progressively impaired.
This work was supported by Horizon 2020 Robotics Program CogIMon (ICT-23-2014 under grant Agreement 644727), by the Italian Education, University and Research Ministry (PRIN grant 2015HFWRYY), and by the Italian Space Agency (contract n. I/006/06/0).
- 4.Russo, M., Cesqui, B., La Scaleia, B., Ceccarelli, F., Maselli, A., Moscatelli, A., Zago, M., Lacquaniti, F., d’Avella, A.: Intercepting virtual balls approaching under different gravity conditions: evidence for spatial prediction. J. Neurophysiol. jn.00025.2017 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00025.2017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 5.Farrow, D., Abernethy, B., Jackson, R.C.: Probing expert anticipation with the temporal occlusion paradigm: experimental investigations of some methodological issues. Mot. Control 9, 332–351 (2005)Google Scholar