Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 236, Issue 6, pp 1699–1711 | Cite as

Rate of recalibration to changing affordances for squeezing through doorways reveals the role of feedback

  • John M. Franchak
  • Frank A. Somoano
Research Article


Recalibration of affordance perception in response to changing motor abilities can only occur if observers detect appropriate perceptual information. Recent work suggests that although many affordances can be recalibrated without practicing the specific action to gather outcome feedback—information about whether the attempted action succeeded or failed—calibration of other affordances might depend on outcome feedback (Franchak, Attent Percept Psychophys 79:1816–1829, 2017). However, past work could not rule out the possibility that practicing the action produced perceptual–motor feedback besides outcome feedback that facilitated recalibration. The results of two experiments support the hypothesis that recalibration in a doorway squeezing task depends on outcome feedback as opposed to perceptual–motor feedback. After putting on a backpack that changed participants’ doorway squeezing ability, affordance judgments were uncalibrated and remained so even after making repeated judgments. However, after practicing the action, which produced outcome feedback, judgments rapidly calibrated. Moreover, the order of feedback information directly impacted participants’ judgments: Participants did not recalibrate if they received only success experience or only failure experience. Recalibration only occurred after participants received both types of feedback experiences, suggesting that outcome feedback is necessary for recalibration in the doorway squeezing task. More generally, the results of the current study support a key tenet of ecological psychology—that affordance perception depends on action-specific information about body–environment relations.


Affordances Recalibration Exploration Feedback Perception and action 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California, RiversideRiversideUSA

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