Brief Reports

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 581-585

First online:

Putting to a bigger hole: Golf performance relates to perceived size

  • Jessica K. WittAffiliated withDepartment of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University Email author 
  • , Sally A. LinkenaugerAffiliated withUniversity of Virginia
  • , Jonathan Z. BakdashAffiliated withUniversity of Virginia
  • , Dennis R. ProffittAffiliated withUniversity of Virginia


When people are engaged in a skilled behavior, such as occurs in sports, their perceptions relate optical information to their performance. In the present research, we demonstrate the effects of performance on size perception in golfers. We found that golfers who played better judged the hole to be bigger than did golfers who did not play as well. In follow-up laboratory experiments, participants putted on a golf mat from a location near or far from the hole and then judged the size of the hole. Participants who putted from the near location perceived the hole to be bigger than did participants who putted from the far location. Our results demonstrate that perception is influenced by the perceiver’s current ability to act effectively in the environment.