Prediction of action outcome: Effects of available information about body structure


Correctly perceiving the movements of opponents is essential in everyday life as well as in many sports. Several studies have shown a better prediction performance for detailed stimuli compared to point-light displays (PLDs). However, it remains unclear whether differences in prediction performance result from explicit information about articulation or from information about body shape. We therefore presented three different types of stimuli (PLDs, stick figures, and skinned avatars) with different amounts of available information of soccer players’ run-ups. Stimulus presentation was faded out at ball contact. Participants had to react to the perceived shot direction with a full-body movement. Results showed no differences for time to virtual ball contact between presentation modes. However, prediction performance was significantly better for avatars and stick figures compared to PLDs, but did not differ between avatars and stick figures, suggesting that explicit information about the articulation of the major joints is mainly relevant for better prediction performance, and plays a larger role than detailed information about body shape. We also tracked eye movements and found that gaze behavior for avatars differed from those for PLDs and stick figures, with no significant differences between PLDs and stick figures. This effect was due to more and longer fixations on the head when avatars were presented.

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Data availability

None of the data or materials for the experiments reported here are available, and none of the experiments were preregistered.


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Correspondence to Johannes Kurz.

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Kurz, J., Helm, F., Troje, N.F. et al. Prediction of action outcome: Effects of available information about body structure. Atten Percept Psychophys (2019) doi:10.3758/s13414-019-01883-5

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  • Prediction
  • Kinematic information
  • Soccer penalty
  • Gaze behavior
  • Structural body information