A unified fielder theory is presented that explains how humans navigate to intercept targets that approach from either above or below the horizon. Despite vastly different physical forces affecting airborne and ground-based moving targets, a common set of invariant perception-action principles appears to guide pursuers. When intercepting airborne projectiles, fielders keep the target image rising at a constant optical speed in a vertical image plane and moving in a constant optical direction in an image plane that remains perpendicular to gaze direction. We confirm that fielders use the same strategies to intercept grounders. Fielders maintained a cotangent of gaze angle that decreases linearly with time (accounting for 98.7% of variance in ball speed) and a linear optical trajectory along an image plane that remains perpendicular to gaze direction (accounting for 98.2% of variance in ball position). The universality of maintaining optical speed and direction for both airborne and ground-based targets supports the theory that these mechanisms are domain independent.
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This work was partially supported by National Science Foundation Grants BCS-0318313 and 0403428. The support of Arizona State University and the Arts, Media, and Engineering Laboratory is gratefully acknowledged.
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Sugar, T.G., Mcbeath, M.K. & Wang, Z. A unified fielder theory for interception of moving objects either above or below the horizon. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 13, 908–917 (2006). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03194018